Colorado River Aqueduct siphon repairs being rushed

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No injuries, property damage reported near desert hot springs

LOS ANGELES, March 7, 2003 -- The Metropolitan Water District is rushing to repair a broken underground pipe feeding water from the Colorado River Aqueduct which is sending a 40-foot geyser into the air.

Officials did not immediately give a cause for the break but said they are investigating. No injuries or property damage has been reported. Officials said this will not interrupt the flow of water to Southern California.

The break occurred in the district's Colorado River Aqueduct, which is north of Desert Hot Springs. The geyser was expected to dissipate over the next few hours as pressure is reduced by aqueduct shutdown, allowing crews to inspect and repair the siphon.

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California recently began running water through its 242-mile-long Colorado River Aqueduct after month-long repairs.

At about 9:30 a.m. Friday, Metropolitan's aerial and ground patrols saw water spouting from an underground pipe called Big Morongo Siphon. The aqueduct has been shut down east of Metropolitan's Hinds Pumping Plant along Interstate 10, just east of Chiriaco Summit, to allow for inspection and repair of the siphon.

Water being pumped from the Colorado River at Lake Havasu is being diverted from the aqueduct at the Hinds Plant into the spreading basin for Metropolitan's Hayfield Groundwater Storage Project, in the groundwater basin underlying the Hayfield area.

Full-service water deliveries are being maintained by Metropolitan to its 26 member public water agencies throughout the region, as they have during the past month's shutdown and repairs on the Colorado River Aqueduct.

Supplies are being received from State Water Project aqueduct from Northern California, and from Metropolitan's nine reservoirs throughout the region.

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