Landmark Agreement Finalized for Important Bay Area Groundwater Storage Project for Drought and Emergencies

San Francisco, CA – A landmark agreement between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and three San Mateo County organizations was finalized and signed Tuesday night to ensure long-term management and sustainability of the South Westside Groundwater Basin. The basin, which stretches from San Francisco to Burlingame, has the capacity to store 20 billion gallons of groundwater in a regional water “savings account” to protect against future drought and earthquake.

“As we continue confronting the worst drought in California history, it is essential that we sustain our efforts to implement water resiliency projects for the future. Together with other Bay Area cities and agencies, we’re working to ensure that we save every drop of water in order to protect our region during times of drought or an earthquake,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee.

The $113 million Regional Groundwater Storage and Recovery project is a partnership between the SFPUC, City of Daly City, City of San Bruno and California Water Service Company.  During years of normal or heavy rainfall, the project will provide additional surface water to the partner agencies in San Mateo County in order to reduce the amount of groundwater pumped from the South Westside Groundwater Basin. Over time, the reduced pumping will create a groundwater savings account of up to 60,500 acre-feet of water or 20 billion gallons — a volume equivalent to that of the SFPUC’s Crystal Springs Reservoir.

The partner San Mateo County agencies currently provide drinking water from two sources, local groundwater from the South Westside Groundwater Basin and surface water supplies from the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System.

The groundwater supply project has completed environmental review and is moving forward to construction in 2015. Once completed in 2018, this project, through 16 new recovery wells, stations, pumps and pipelines constructed in the Peninsula will provide 7.2 million gallons of water per day benefitting the 2.6 million people in the Bay Area who rely on the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System.

“Daly City is proud to be part of a collaborative partnership that has demonstrated significant commitment toward diversifying local water supplies for the benefit of residents in the region,” stated Patricia E. Martel, City Manager of Daly City.

“California Water Service Company is proud to be involved in this important regional groundwater storage and recovery project to protect our groundwater basin in South San Francisco region. This partnership will provide long-lasting benefits to the Bay Area,” said Tony Carrasco, District Manager for California Water Service Company.

“The signing of this agreement is a significant achievement toward diversifying local water supplies in the Peninsula region.  This operating agreement has been a longtime coming and San Bruno is pleased to be part of this effort that meets the public’s belief that agencies come together to develop solutions that benefit the communities we serve,” said Connie Jackson, City Manager of San Bruno.

Within the City of San Francisco, the SFPUC is starting construction on the San Francisco Groundwater Supply Project to diversify the City’s local water supply portfolio. This project will provide up to four million gallons of local, sustainable groundwater every day.

“Groundwater is an essential part of our water supply. I am proud the SFPUC is leading the charge in conservation and working to develop more local sources of groundwater, recycled water, rainwater in San Francisco and the region,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr.

For updates and additional information on the Regional Groundwater Storage and Recovery and San Francisco Groundwater Supply Projects, visit: http://sfwater.org/groundwater.

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