Water lines are life lines and their resilience affects our recovery after disaster.
The Bay Area underground terrain is quite complex. EBMUD’s water lines are buried in bayside soils, which can liquefy in earthquakes; they pass through tree-lined hillsides, which are subject to landslide and wildfire; and cross fault lines, where earth movement can tear them apart.
Your rate dollars fund crucial investments in our water and wastewater infrastructure. These investments help protect our community against disaster and improve our ability to recover from a major water outage. At EBMUD, emergency preparedness is a priority. We’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on seismic upgrades to shore up the backbone of our system with improvements to pumping plants, reservoirs, water treatment plants and large transmission pipelines.
As we head into EBMUD’s next 100 years of service, we are focusing on diversifying water sources and renewing our system so we’re more resilient to the myriad of hazards that we face.
Beginning with local water storage, EBMUD has more than a dozen projects in the works to replace drinking water reservoirs—some more than a century old—with modern equivalents that give us more control over flow and storage, which will be vital during emergencies.
New pipelines also are on the horizon. Currently, we replace up to 15 miles of distribution pipes every year—a 50 percent increase from just four years ago—and we’re working toward more miles every year. We’re using the newest materials and technologies available to rebuild our system. Our inventory of materials now includes earthquake resistant pipes and pipe lining approaches that accelerate repairs and reduce neighborhood disruptions.
To reduce the threat of large, damaging wildfires, EBMUD conducts prescribed burns and uses grazing animals and mechanical methods to chew, chip and clear brush that could otherwise fuel fires. Additionally, where possible, EBMUD plants native species that reduce fire risk. EBMUD is always preparing for emergencies, work that will continue for decades to come. We also work with cities and counties to create realistic response and recovery plans.