Campus Loses Water Pressure


Rachel L. Weiss

A water main break in Kendall Square yesterday evening left much of Harvard’s campus, as well as most of Cambridge, with reduced water pressure.

Much of Harvard campus suddenly lost water pressure yesterday evening, leaving students eating dinner on paper plates and searching for working restrooms.

The loss of pressure occurred when a 30-inch water main ruptured in Kendall Square on the corner of Broadway and Third Ave.

“There was no pressure up to Harvard Square—most of the city was affected, but not necessarily all of the pressure was gone,” Cambridge City spokeswoman Mary-Ellen Carvello said.

In order to bring back water pressure as soon as possible, Cambridge, which usually depends on its own water supply, switched over to water provided by the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA), Carvello explained last night.

She said that while Square buildings were using MWRA water, Cambridge officials were working on repairing the break.

Several departments of the city government sent representatives to assess and manage the situation, including the water department, the police department, the fire department and the department of public works, according to Cambridge City spokeswoman Ini Tomeu. The city manager and the deputy city manager were also present.

“I don’t know how long the repairs will take, but they are making every effort to complete it this evening,” Tomeu said.

Before water pressure began to be restored, students and staff at Harvard struggled to cope with the lack of running water.

In Adams dining hall and other dining halls on campus, students ate dinner off of paper plates and drank juice and soda from an emergency supply, according to Adams House Dining Hall General Manager David A. Seley.

Seley said that Adams shut down any equipment that couldn’t operate due to the water shortage, but that overall, dining standards were not lowered for dinner last night.

While dining halls remained open, other campus locales shut their doors to students.

The Malkin Athletic Center (MAC) and Lamont Library closed last night, and undergraduates suffered at the lack of water in their own sinks and showers.

Malini P. Daniel ’06, of Eliot House, said she encountered difficulties in finding a place to use a restroom.

“I’ve been trying to find a place to use a bathroom. It’s dirty everywhere,” she said.

Ryan W. Davies ’05 was slightly more resourceful, if a little less sanitary, when he discovered his toilet had stopped working yesterday afternoon.

“Hey man, I am a FOP leader. I’ll just dig a hole in the Quincy courtyard,” he said.

For students wary of Davies’ backwoods techniques, the city of Cambridge has issued a few guidelines for water use at this time.

People have been advised to let their water run until it is free of visible sediment before bathing in or drinking it.

—Staff writer Lauren A. E. Schuker contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Jessica E. Schumer contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Joshua P. Rogers can be reached at