Always prepared

CP MA18 Prepared Image

There’s no mistaking that rumble in the earth. Earthquakes snap us out of the calm we mostly take for granted and shake us into a new reality: response mode.

The good news is EBMUD is prepared. For decades, we’ve been strengthening our vital water and wastewater systems to better withstand earthquakes. We seismically upgrade pipelines and facilities; conduct emergency exercises and trainings; participate in scientific research studies and build partnerships that improve both our infrastructure and our staff response.

On January 4th, just before 3 a.m., a 4.4 magnitude earthquake centered in Berkeley rocked the Bay Area. By sunrise, EBMUD employees had already inspected our dams and other critical infrastructure to confirm they were unaffected by the quake. You too can be prepared for emergencies. Learn more at Emergency Preparedness. Sign up for public safety alerts in Alameda County at or Contra Costa County at

We don’t just put pipes in the ground; we study them first, enlisting academic researchers and materials experts to pilot new seismic-resistant pipes. We are focused on replacing cast-iron and asbestos cement pipes, which are more likely to break. And we’re moving large transmission pipelines—like the 24-inch Dingee and Summit Pressure Zone Pipelines—out of the Hayward Fault Zone.

We don’t just upgrade critical infrastructure to endure heavy shaking; we inspect it routinely and monitor it closely. Our dams now have automated GPS-based monitoring systems for improved accuracy.

We don’t just say we’ll come to work in the aftermath of a quake; we practice it. Hands-on exercises build muscle memory as we go through the motions to set up response teams and mobilize mutual aide.

Even with all this preparation, we know we can’t prevent all damage. That’s why we work with cities and counties, fire and police departments, other utilities, and state and federal agencies to plan and think through response together. So if and when The Big One hits, you can trust that EBMUD and our partners are prepared.