Monument Valley schools without water on September 2

by Eric Niven
Monument Valley High School, Tse'bii'nidzisgai Elementary School and the adjacent housing units owned by the San Juan School District were without water on September 2, resulting in an early release from school.
It is believed that an August 30 electrical storm may have knocked out the pumps. The pumps feed a closed system, which supplies water for the school facilities. A low-water warning program on the system malfunctioned. As a result, no one was aware of the problem until the water storage was completely empty.
School Superintendent Douglas Wright said he was notified of the problem at 6 a.m. on September 2. Soon afterward, repairmen began to repair the pumps.
“While this type of event has happened in the past, this is the first time I am aware of the water storage running completely dry,” said Dr. Wright. The repairs were more serious than similar situations in the past, but the pumps were repaired and operating by 10:30 a.m.
Although the pumps were operating, it took two or three hours to replenish the storage tanks. As a result, the two schools were closed and the students sent home at 11:30 a.m.
Wright said there was never an issue of water quality.
Residents of the district housing units were without water for several hours.
Both schools served breakfast and lunch before students were sent home.
By Thursday, the system was running and fully operational.
As a result of the remote location and limited housing opportunities, the school district operates a water system and housing units for employees. There are nine homes and 20 apartments at the school sites.

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