DSRSD securing supplemental water supplies

Water agencies in the East Bay and Sacramento Valley plan to voluntarily transfer 1,500 acre feet of water (488,776,500 gallons) this year into the East Bay to offset potential shortages due to the drought. Under the agreement, Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) will purchase water from Yuba County Water Agency (YCWA), and East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) will convey these water supplies to DSRSD. The total cost to purchase, transport, treat, and deliver the water will be $2.23 million (about $1,750 per acre foot). This is YCWA’s first transfer of water to DSRSD via EBMUD.

“Buying water from a new source is a complicated process that involves federal, state and local agencies, environmental studies, regulatory approvals, and lots of time and persistence, especially in the midst of an epic drought,” says DSRSD Operations Manager Dan Gallagher, “but DSRSD is committed to securing a more reliable water supply so our customers will not be as adversely impacted by the drought. We’ve already built up a recycled water program for landscape irrigation that meets 20 percent of our water demand. 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.” 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. DSRSD will reimburse EBMUD for the cost of delivering the water through its system.

“The water will be more expensive than water the District purchases from Zone 7 Water Agency,” says DSRSD Board President Edward Duarte, “but it diversifies our water supply portfolio. 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. Also, this will help maintain the City of Dublin and Dougherty Valley area of San Ramon as attractive and sustainable places for families and businesses.”

YCWA Board Chairman John Nicoletti said, “During this record drought, YCWA is committed to work with agencies throughout California, like DSRSD and EBMUD, to supplement their water supplies and lessen the droughts’ effects on their residents.” Nicoletti added, “And importantly, this water transfer will not result in shortages to our local irrigation customers.”

When and how will this happen?
In late April or early May, and following the necessary approvals, YCWA will release 1,500 acre feet (AF) of water from its New Bullard’s Bar Reservoir. 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 September 31, 2015). 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.

“Our ratepayers’ investment in the Freeport facility opens up opportunities not just for EBMUD to manage its supply through this historic drought, but also for our neighbors in the region to use water transfers to increase their water supply,” said EBMUD Director of Water and Natural Resources Richard Sykes. “Freeport and interties with neighboring agencies are critical tools during emergencies like a drought.” EBMUD completed construction of the Freeport facility in 2010 and used it last year for the first time to deliver water from the Sacramento River to its East Bay reservoirs.

“This water purchase benefits the whole Valley,” said Daniel Smith, City of Pleasanton Director of Operations Services Department. “This is what we’ve been asking our water wholesaler, Zone 7 Water Agency, to do since last year when the drought began. We support DSRSD purchasing water from Yuba County Water Agency 100 percent and we want to partner with them as we feel strongly that we owe it to our communities to do everything we can during this historic drought. Our customers did their part last year in reducing consumption dramatically and now we need to step up!”

Will rates increase?
No. The District will purchase the water with money from its water operations fund. “There will be no rate increase,” DSRSD Board President Duarte said. “There are sufficient funds for this water purchase.”

Water purchases in the past
Normally, DSRSD purchases drinking water from Zone 7 Water Agency. More than 80 percent of Zone 7’s water supply is imported water from California’s State Water Project (SWP), with the rest of the water coming from local surface water runoff and the groundwater basin. Last year, Zone 7 only received five percent of its water allocation from the SWP and deliveries were not made until September 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 DSRSD Board President Duarte. “Last year, Zone 7 directed its retailers (DSRSD, the Cities of Livermore and Pleasanton, and California Water Service Company) to reduce overall water use by 25 percent compared to 2013. Zone 7 also strongly urged us to ‘seek alternative water supplies.’ So we did. And purchasing water from Yuba County Water Agency and having EBMUD move it via the Freeport Regional Water Facility, the Folsom South Canal, and the Mokelumne Aqueduct, demonstrates there can be a second delivery system independent of the Delta.”

Founded in 1953, DSRSD serves 159,000 people, providing potable and recycled water service to Dublin and the Dougherty Valley area of San Ramon, wastewater collection and treatment to Dublin and south San Ramon, and wastewater treatment to Pleasanton (by contract). More information about the District can be obtained at www.dsrsd.com.

DSRSD contact: Sue Stephenson, 925-570-5739 cell, stephenson@dsrsd.com

About YCWA
Established in 1959, YCWA owns and operates dams and reservoirs with a storage capacity of one million acre feet of water. These facilities provide flood control, hydropower, recreation and fish and wildlife benefits for the people of Yuba County, and California. Visit YCWA’s website for more information, www.ycwa.com .

YCWA contact: Curt Aikens, 530-701-6800 cell, caikens@ycwa.com

For more than 90 years, EBMUD has had a proud history of providing high-quality drinking water for 1.3 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.