EBMUD confirms solid drinking water supply

EBMUD’s drinking water reservoirs are full; winter storms impact watershed, water storage, and wastewater operations.

OAKLAND, CA  ̶  Though the water year is only half over, EBMUD announced today that after years of drought, the wettest winter season in several years has already refilled the District’s reservoirs.

The 2016-2017 water year began with the wettest October on record and has continued with the wettest January on record in the Mokelumne River watershed in the Sierra foothills, the source of the East Bay’s drinking water supplies. EBMUD’s Pardee Reservoir is completely full, as are its East Bay reservoirs.

While recognizing this excellent news for the water agency and its customers, EBMUD, along with the entire region, is also addressing storm impacts to watersheds, water storage and wastewater operations.

“We’ve been frankly relieved to have such an incredible first half of the rainy season. Now, our skilled staff is focused on reservoir and facility management to manage these significant rain events. That includes controlled releases from our reservoirs, addressing a land movement adjacent to our Briones Aqueduct, and dealing with large amounts of storm water entering our wastewater system,” said EBMUD President of the Board Lesa McIntosh.

East Bay precipitation is 11.35” (299% of average for January) and local reservoirs are at 102 percent and spilling over. The deluge has contributed to strong drinking water supplies for the East Bay – as well as some storm-related challenges. Following wet weather during the week of January 9th, EBMUD identified a significant storm-induced slide on San Pablo Creek, adjacent to Briones Aqueduct. An emergency repair was quickly planned and completed to protect the aqueduct—a critical water pipeline used to fill Briones Reservoir and deliver drinking water from the reservoir to area treatment plants—and to protect San Pablo Creek and public safety.

In the East Bay, the District is releasing water to control reservoir levels. By controlling releases, the District can manage the impacts of intense rainfall, and thereby protect public safety and property downstream. The following releases are now occurring:

  • Briones Reservoir began spilling on January 10
  • San Pablo Reservoir began spilling on January 11; releases up to 150 cfs (cubic feet per second) have been made when there is no precipitation
  • Upper San Leandro Reservoir began spilling on January 11; releases up to 100 cfs have been made when there is no precipitation
  • Chabot Reservoir began spilling on January 23; releases of 150 cfs were made from January 14-17
  • Lafayette Reservoir releases of 10 cfs began January 17

EBMUD staff continues to monitor the forecast and will schedule additional releases between storms when local creeks have receded and can absorb excess runoff.

EBMUD delivers high quality water to 1.4 million East Bay residents, capturing snowmelt from protected watershed of the Mokelumne River and collecting it at Pardee Reservoir, 90 miles east of the Bay Area. EBMUD has water rights for up to 325 million gallons daily from the Mokelumne River watershed, the source of 90% of EBMUD customers’ drinking water. In addition, runoff from local precipitation is stored in several East Bay reservoirs for treatment and delivery to customers and to assure emergency supplies are available locally.