Image of Gushing Main Break Could Have Big Impacts During Historic Drought

NBC4's political reporter Conan Nolan studies the political impacts of the massive water main break near UCLA

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Westwood water main break becomes a bigger issue because of the drought, and has lawmakers worried that voters won't trust Southern Californians to manage water wisely. Conan Nolan reports from Alhambra for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

    It was an accident, but the water main mess in Westwood could not have come at a worse time.

    Not only for a region suffering a drought, but one asking residents throughout the state to sacrifice.

    Besides the damage to a major Westwood artery, to the storied venue of college basketball, and all the time and treasure it will take to repair a 90-year-old water main, there was this:

    West Side Facing Ripple Effect from Water Main Break

    [LA] West Side Facing Ripple Effect from Water Main Break
    The Westwood water main break has over a mile of Sunset Boulevard blocked off, meaning nearby surface streets are picking up the traffic slack. Ted Chen reports from Brentwood for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

    The image, sent throughout California, of millions of gallons of freshwater wasted, in the middle of one of the worst droughts in decades.

    Mark Silva, a construction worker said, "such a waste. This entire neighborhood could have used that water."

    UCLA in Drying Out Phase

    [LA] Wednesday Noon Update: UCLA in Drying Out Phase
    Campus officials said UCLA is in the process of drying out after flooding caused by a water main break. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Wednesday July 30, 2014.

    Silva, 33, is from Alhambra, land of the brown lawn, where the mo-blow-and-go gardeners kick up more dust than leaves.

    It's a city which just this week passed one of the strictest water conservation measures in the state.

    "I don't want to get fined," he said. "I'd rather just let my lawn die, I guess. I got no choice."

    Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson says while most will appreciate that this was an accident, Tuesday's blow-out wasn't what you'd call inspirational for water conservation.

    "We can't react to the way that it looks," Wesson said. "We have to react and do the things necessary to secure the situation right now."

    Just this week, environmentalists protested a proposed water tunnel that would fast-track Northern California water for Southern California.

    Lawmakers in Sacramento are debating a water bond measure they plan on putting before voters in the fall.

    Their worry is that it will fail if voters from Northern California don't trust those in Southern California to manage water wisely.

    Pictures from Tuesday out of Westwood won't help.