Baker: When did WSSC know ‘about this other option’ on water crisis?


Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker III answers questions about a water main repair during a press conference outside of the Prince George's County Emergency Operations Center in Landover Hills on Tuesday. (Maddie Meyer/THE WASHINGTON POST)
July 17, 2013

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) had nothing but praise Wednesday for the WSSC’s workers and especially the employees who came up with a temporary fix that allowed water to continue to flow to the more than 100,000 south county residents expected to lose water while a major main was being repaired.

Residents of the affected areas are still being advised to conserve water, avoid washing dishes, and limit showers.

Still, Baker hinted at his displeasure in an afternoon press conference at the county’s emergency management center in Landover Hills.

“I want to make sure we have all the options available to us when I announce it. When did they first know about this other option and how soon were they able to tell us other than this morning?” he said.

Baker said even with knowledge of a potential workaround, he still would have urged residents to make preparations for a worst-case scenario, which could have been a lack of running water for the next five days.

“We would do that anyway,” he said of plans for cooling centers and “reception centers” the county had opened for residents to obtain water and take showers.

“We would have made the same precautions even if I had known this yesterday,” he said.

He expects to have extensive talks with WSSC officials once the water shortage ends.

“After the crisis, we are going to ask some very tough questions,” Baker said. “I told them [WSSC officials] that we are going to have a very long and lengthy discussion about how we can make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

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