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Pipe bursts, flooding UCLA campus

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A major water main ruptured underneath a street near the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on Tuesday at around 3.30pm.

It unleashed a 6m-high geyser and millions of gallons of water, which flooded parts of the campus and stranded motorists on nearby streets.

The water gushed across the north end of the campus for several hours, submerging athletic fields and pouring into an underground parking structure, where motorists were caught in water up to their wheel wells, Los Angles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

The incident happened as California suffers through a record drought that has prompted state and local authorities to impose water-use restrictions on residents, such as fines for wasting even a few gallons on excessive lawn-watering.

Stuck in water and mud

Mr Humphrey said there were no injuries reported, though the fire department's swift water rescue teams were on scene as a precaution.

Firefighters placed sandbags outside classrooms and helped drivers stuck in water and mud. Students were seen wading through knee-deep water to get around. 

A major water main ruptured underneath a street near the University of California, Los Angeles.

Sunset Boulevard, a major road, was shut down, causing a traffic jam during the afternoon rush-hour commute.

The pipe was shut off some four hours after the rupture and about eight million to 10 million gallons of water had been lost, the city’s Department of Water and Power (DWP) said.

No customers were without water and water quality was not compromised, the DWP said.

Firefighters shouting directions as they wade through water near Pauley Pavillion on the University of California, Los Angeles campus.

The more than 90-year-old riveted steel pipe carries an estimated 75,000 gallons per minute, the DWP said. Repairs would continue through Wednesday.

Mr Humphrey said​ it was too early to estimate the damage caused by the flooding.

University spokesman Ricardo Vazquez said workers were removing inches of standing water from the floor of the UCLA basketball team’s Pauley Pavilion, which in 2012 underwent a multi million-dollar renovation.

Source: Reuters