Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Water for the city

The California drought may be over, but on World Water Day, it is good to know that our local water authority is thinking ahead. Amid the blizzard of verbiage that comes with the bill, there was this:

Smart, reliable, resilient and local: Groundwater for San Francisco
... Developing local groundwater can help diversify our supply portfolio and ensure we have a local source for water should a drought, earthquake or other disaster interrupt our Hetch Hetchy supply.

In March, 2017, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) will start pumping groundwater from the Westside Groundwater Basin aquifer that extends to approximately 400 feet below the surface in San Francisco. The groundwater will be treated and blended with our regional drinking water supplies before it is delivered to our customers. Over the next few years we will continue adding groundwater in order to reach our goal of blending 4 million gallons a day (mgd) of treated groundwater with our regional water supplies by 2020.

... On an average day the City of San Francisco – including our residents, businesses and visitors – will continue to rely primarily on the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System, a system that combines the resources of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir with 5 reservoirs in the Bay Area, for 60 million gallons of drinking water. Adding groundwater to our regional water supplies makes San Francisco’s water supply more reliable, particularly in the event of droughts and emergencies.

Who knew there was an aquifer there for the tapping under the Sunset District? It's easy to look at this and wonder -- is this a construction boondoggle for politically connected contractors? Well, maybe. But this city has added 150,000 residents since 1980. And new San Franciscans keep on coming, for all the congestion and crazy housing costs. Building some forward looking infrastructure seems a good idea.

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