EBMUD to issue revised environmental impact study on issues raised by court on water supply plan

The East Bay Municipal Utility District is preparing to issue a draft revised Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for its Water Supply Management Program (WSMP) 2040 that recommends the District defer the project to enlarge Pardee Reservoir and not include it in its thirty year water plan.

The District’s WSMP 2040 is a long-term planning effort intended to ensure the District can supply high quality water to its customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties during droughts. The plan lists a number of strategies to ensure adequate water supplies with a strong emphasis on increased conservation and recycling to reduce customer demand. The plan also includes a variety of supplemental supply options that could be explored in the future, including water transfers, groundwater storage, desalination and regional surface storage.

In the course of conducting the additional analysis necessary to address a court order on the WSMP 2040 environmental documentation, EBMUD determined that it could prepare a plan with a portfolio of supplemental supply options for the next 30 years without including the enlargement of Pardee Reservoir. The enlargement of Pardee was originally not planned for potential consideration in the near term, and the analysis conducted by EBMUD now indicates consideration of that option can be deferred beyond 2040.

EBMUD is revising the WSMP 2040 analysis, and new information that EBMUD has developed demonstrates it may be possible to partner with the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) to acquire additional water supplies from the expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir, which is a project that CCWD finalized after EBMUD developed the WSMP 2040 in 2009. The possibility for the partnership is among the factors prompting EBMUD staff to recommend going forth with the WSMP 2040 plan without the Enlarge Pardee option.

For a partnership between EBMUD and CCWD around Los Vaqueros Reservoir to occur, water distribution, treatment and pumping issues would have to be first resolved, but there are early indications of community support and the potential to resolve these issues. EBMUD’s Board of Directors has emphasized the importance of community support for any regional project, and EBMUD endeavors to work with local agencies and communities to gain support for any project that it undertakes.

EBMUD General Manager Alexander R. Coate notes that the District’s Board and staff worked hard for several years on the long-term planning effort. “The revised PEIR refines that work and provides additional support for an important and robust plan that will allow EBMUD to meet future water needs in an environmentally and economically sound manner,” said Coate.

The revised draft PEIR will be released on December 6. Public meetings on the environmental report will be held in Calaveras and Amador counties and in Oakland in January