Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Rim Fire in Yosemite and a Sunol Valley Update

The Rim Fire, which started in the Stanislaus National Forest on Saturday, August 17th, has been widely reported during the past week. The fire has spread to 179,481 acres as of this writing, and more than 3,000 personnel have been dispatched to combat the fire. As of this writing, the fire is 20% contained.

The fire has since spread into the Tuolumne Watershed, and the environs of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which is the source of 85% of the drinking water we provide our 2.6 million customers. There continues to be no change or impact to water quality or delivery from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. We continue serving high quality water to our customers.

The water delivery system and the recent upgrades completed in the Sunol Valley as part of our multi-billion dollar Water System Improvement Program have increased our ability to continue to serve our customers even during such an event as this. Why?
  • Hetch Hetchy water is being pumped to San Antonio Reservoir in the Sunol Valley as we speak to ensure we have as much water here in the Bay Area as possible, in case Hetchy supplies should become unavailable to us.
  • The pumps that send Hetchy water to San Antonio and to the Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant were recently upgraded as part of the San Antonio Pump Station Upgrade.
  • The Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant Expansion and Treated Water Reservoir upgraded filters and outlet works at the plant, and recently finished construction of a new treatment basin.
In short, should Hetchy supplies become unavailable to us because of the Rim Fire, or need to be treated, we have completed enough infrastructure upgrades in the Sunol Valley to filter and provide 160 million gallons of water a day to our Bay Area Customers for up to 2 months.

This incident underscores the urgency to complete the remaining water system upgrades in the Valley: New Irvington Tunnel, San Antonio Backup Pipeline, and a replacement Calaveras Dam.

So, when the next large incident occurs -- we will still be ready!

For up to date information on the rim fire, please visit sfwater.org/RimFire.

San Antonio Pump Station

Water being filtered at the Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant

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