Water agencies in the East Bay and Sacramento Valley plan to voluntarily transfer 1,500 acre feet (AF) of water (488,776,500 gallons) this year into the East Bay to offset potential shortages due to the drought.
Under this agreement, Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) will purchase water from Yuba County Water Agency (YCWA), and East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) will transport these water supplies to DSRSD -- which provides wastewater treatment to Pleasanton.
"DSRSD is committed to securing a more reliable water supply so our customers will not be as adversely impacted by the drought," says DSRSD operations manager Dan Gallagher. "This purchase of supplemental water from YCWA, pending the necessary approvals from various agencies, will reduce the drought's impact on our customers and represents a significant step toward greater water reliability."
The total cost to purchase, transport, treat and deliver water will be $2.23 million, said DSRSD officials, adding that the water district will purchase the water with money from its water operations fund.
However, the water will be more expensive than water the district purchases from Zone 7 Water Agency, according to DSRSD board president Edward Duarte.
He added that rates will not increase from the water purchase.
The proceeds from the water sale will enable YCWA to continue investing in fish and wildlife habitat restoration on the Yuba River and improving flood protection for Yuba County's residents, said water district officials. DSRSD will reimburse EBMUD for the cost of delivering the water through its system.
After the necessary approvals, YCWA is scheduled to release 1,500 AF of water from its New Bullard's Bar Reservoir in late April or early May. This transfer water will flow down the Yuba River to the Feather and Sacramento rivers. At the Freeport Regional Water Facility, a joint venture of EBMUD and Sacramento County Water Agency, water will be diverted to the Folsom South Canal (owned and operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation). The water will move through the Folsom South Canal to EBMUD's Mokelumne Aqueduct and from there into EBMUD reservoirs. It will take one week for the 1,500 AF of water to make this part of the journey.
EBMUD will store the water until daily deliveries to DSRSD are scheduled to begin about June 1, at a rate of 10 AF per day for 120 days (through Sept. 31). Of the water drawn at Freeport, some will be reduced by evaporation and lost in transit. Before delivery to DSRSD, the water will be treated to drinking water standards. The delivery of the water from EBMUD to DSRSD will occur at two emergency interties located on the border of the two service areas. Both interties are on Alcosta Boulevard -- one is east of Interstate 680 and the other is west of the freeway. DSRSD will then pump the supplemental water to its Dougherty Valley customers.
This is YCWA's first transfer of water to DSRSD via EBMUD.
"This supplemental water will help meet our customer's demands this year when Delta supplies are expected to be heavily impacted once again. Our goal is that our customers will not have to reduce their water consumption nearly as much," Duarte said.
Past water purchases
DSRSD normally purchases drinking water from Zone 7 Water Agency. More than 80% of Zone 7's water supply is imported water from California's State Water Project (SWP), with the rest coming from local surface water runoff and the groundwater basin.
Last year, Zone 7 received 5% of its water allocation from the SWP and deliveries were not made until Sept. 1, 2014.
"It isn't working to rely on the State Water Project for 80 percent of our water that is delivered via one pump station (Harvey O. Banks) and one pipeline (South Bay Aqueduct)," said Duarte.
He added that Zone 7 directed its retailers (DSRSD, the Cities of Livermore and Pleasanton, and California Water Service Company) to reduce overall water use by 25% compared to 2013, and also to "seek alternative water supplies."