Water Pumping Compromise Helps San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento

Sun June 10, 2007 - West Edition

SACRAMENTO (AP) A project getting under way on the Sacramento River will pipe water to 1.3 million residents in the eastern San Francisco Bay area during dry years and provide an additional water supply for Sacramento County residents.

Officials of the East Bay Municipal Utility District and the Sacramento County Water Agency celebrated the start of construction at a ceremony May 7, ending years of competing lawsuits over water rights.

A compromise will allow both agencies to pump water from the Sacramento River during dry years from an intake plant near Freeport, approximately 10 mi. south of downtown Sacramento.

When the project is completed in 2010, underground pipes 7 ft. (2 m) in diameter will carry the water 17 mi. (27 km) east, where they will hook into the Sacramento and East Bay district’s water systems.

The East Bay district will use up to 100 million gal. (378 million L) per day during dry years — estimated to be approximately three of every 10 years. The Sacramento district will be able to draw up to 85 million gal. (321 million L) each day for Sacramento County residents, who currently rely on groundwater.

The East Bay district had sought a supply from the American River, which flows into the Sacramento River. Environmental groups and Sacramento officials fought that option.

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi praised the Freeport Regional Water Project as a model for similar regional partnerships.