UCLA Is Recovering From a 10-Million-Gallon Flood

In the middle of California's terrible drought, students boogie-boarded their way through a massive water-main break yesterday.

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UCLA's new, unintentional waterfall. (Associated Press)

The scene at the University of California Los Angeles yesterday afternoon was somewhere between the ending scenes of Noah and Titanic. About 8 to 10 million gallons of water flooded the main campus after a 30-inch water main broke around 3:30 p.m. local time, according to the UCLA Daily Bruin. The water flooded parking lots, trapped people in cars, and seeped into the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion stadium. 

The good news is that no one was injured during the flooding, and no classrooms (or the Ronald Reagan Medical Center) were affected. The bad news is that Pauley Pavilion, which underwent a $132 million renovation in 2012, was flooded.

(Associated Press)

Drake Stadium, where the school hosts soccer games and track events, was also flooded:

Five people had to be rescued from their cars in two flooded parking lots, according to the Daily Bruin, and more than 200 cars were stuck in the lot last night. Nearby residence halls were available overnight to people who couldn't make it home.

(Associated Press)

Keep in mind that while the water main, which according to the Los Angeles Times is about 90 years old, was shooting millions of gallons of water into the air like a geyser...

(Associated Press)

... and causing massive damage to vehicles and buildings ...

(Associated Press)

... the rest of California was still dealing with a massive drought. It's a crime to waste water in California, and reckless water use is subject to a $500 fine. UCLA students, meanwhile, made the best of a bad situation.

(Reuters)
"That is probably one of the most dangerous things you can do," Jamie Moore of the Los Angeles Fire Department told the Los Angeles Times. "For somebody to try and boogie board in this, it's just going to be an asphalt bath." (Associated Press)

Students also started brainstorming on ways to rebuild:

And making Sharknado jokes:

As for what happens next—and for a tally of how much damage was caused—the school will wait and assess. In the meantime, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will try to stop other ancient pipes from bursting. “We will be looking at all of our infrastructure in light of this incident,” an LADWP official told NBC News

This post originally appeared on The Wire, an Atlantic partner site.

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