Volume 10, Issue 2

News and Information for the Customers of the Alameda County Water District
Autumn, 2006

A Message From the General Manager
Protecting Delta Water
As you’ll read elsewhere in this issue of the Aqueduct, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a critical part of the Bay Area’s water supply. As stakeholders throughout the state struggle to develop solutions to the problems the Delta faces, I’d like to share with you a few of the things Bay Area water providers have been doing to protect and conserve Delta water.
I Bay Area water providers

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – Vital to the Bay Area’s Water Supply
Water is the lifeblood of the Bay Area – critical to our families, businesses, environment, and farms. Unknown to many Bay Area residents, however, is the fact that one-third of our water comes from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In fact, nearly 3 million people in five Bay Area counties receive Delta water. Here in the Alameda County Water District, 40% of the water we use is conveyed through the Delta. The protection of this critical water supply is just as important to those of us living in northern California as it is to those living further south.

The Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta is critical to the Bay Area's water supply.

ensure that Delta water is used responsibly by enabling and encouraging water conservation and by optimizing the use of local supplies, including groundwater, desalination, and recycled water.
I The Bay Area has made

substantial progress in implementing aggressive water conservation programs over the past 20 years. Even though the Bay Area population has increased by more than 15% since 1986, overall water use has not increased.
I Water agencies in Alameda

and Santa Clara counties have wisely invested in local as well as off-site groundwater banking programs in the Central Valley to store Delta water supplies for use in dry years. As commendable as these actions are, they do not eliminate our need for imported Delta water. Water demand forecasts indicate that the Delta will continue to be an essential part of the water supply equation here in the Bay Area far into the future. By using water efficiently, residents and businesses contribute significantly to protecting the valuable natural resource we know as the Delta. Paul Piraino General Manager

The Delta – A Threatened Water Supply The Delta is in peril, putting much of the Bay Area’s water supply at risk. Threats to the Delta include: I Fragile Levees and Sinking Islands The central Delta islands are up to 25 feet below sea level and are subsiding at a rate of about two inches per year. The levees protecting these islands are old and weak and are highly vulnerable to a variety of environmental forces. Failure of Delta levees would lead to flooding and seawater intrusion. I Earthquakes and Levee Failure The Delta lies in close proximity to at least five major faults. A recent study predicts that a 6.5 magnitude earthquake near the Delta would cause 30 levee breaches resulting in the flooding of 16 islands. The influx of seawater could make the Delta an unusable drinking water supply for three to five years. I Global Warming and Rising Sea Levels Scientists estimate that global warming will increase the mean sea level between one and three feet over the next 100 years, placing greater pressure on the levee system and increasing the likelihood and impacts of levee failure. The Bay Area at Risk If the Bay Area’s ability to import Delta water is reduced or eliminated, residents and businesses will face significant economic hardships and a severely lowered quality of life. I Nearly 3 million people might have to cut their water usage by up to 50% or more, resulting in brown lawns, withered landscaping, and empty pools. I Businesses might be forced to move to other regions or states where water supplies are stable, resulting in a loss of Bay Area jobs. I Local parks might have to reduce irrigation of public fields, gardens, and picnic areas, resulting in a loss of recreation opportunities. I Levee failure in the Delta would make it impossible for ACWD and other Bay Area water agencies to access dry year reserves stored in Central Valley groundwater banks, thus exacerbating the effects of a drought. Finding Solutions ACWD is working with other Delta interests to develop a long-term Delta vision which includes protecting Bay Area drinking water supplies while ensuring that all Delta management alternatives are explored. This is part of a larger effort known as the Delta Vision Process, which is seeking to develop and implement a common vision that provides for the sustainable use and protection of the Delta.

Fragile Delta levees threaten farmland, housing developments, and our water supply.

Become a Master Composter
The annual Master Composter Training Program is currently accepting applications for the 2007 class. Stopwaste.org offers this four-month training and environmental education program to promote the recycling of organic materials on the community level. Participants in the program will:

• Attend weekly classes from February to May. • Learn compost and Bay-Friendly Gardening theory and practice. • Give back to the community by completing a compost outreach project. • Receive a compost bin and helpful reference books. • Gain valuable job skills. • Earn college credit.

Teachers who complete the program are eligible for a $200 stipend to use towards school garden and/or classroom compost activities. Applications are due by January 12, 2007. For more information, call (510) 444-SOIL or visit www.BayFriendly.org.

News Briefs
ZunZun Returns to Tri-City Schools The musical/theater group ZunZun will once again be visiting Tri-City schools during the 2006-2007 school year. ZunZun will be sharing their important water conservation message through a unique blend of theater and music utilizing instruments from South, Central, and North America. This year’s presentation is entitled, “Water Beat,” and as always, ACWD is offering this service to public and private schools in Fremont, Newark, and Union City free of charge. If your child’s school has not already scheduled a performance, encourage the school administrator to do so. ZunZun can be reached directly at (831) 426-0684. Barrier-Free Fishing Pier Opens at Quarry Lakes Because ACWD uses the water in the lakes at Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area to replenish the groundwater basin beneath the Tri-City area, water levels in the lakes rise and fall throughout the year. From a recreational standpoint, these fluctuations can create challenges, especially for those who love to fish but who are unable to walk a long distance down a steep shoreline to the water. The East Bay Regional Park District’s new barrier-free fishing pier addresses this issue for it makes fishing readily available to everyone at all times. The wheelchair accessible pier will rise and fall with the changing lake levels, eliminating the need to walk down a steep shoreline. ACWD was proud to be a partner in the construction of the new pier which will open up recreational opportunities to a broader spectrum of our population.

Milestone Agreement Brings Steelhead One Step Closer to a Home in Alameda Creek
The restoration of a steelhead trout run in Alameda Creek came one step closer to reality recently with the signing of a milestone agreement. This fall, 17 public agencies and nonprofit organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct studies of how much water might be needed to restore a population of the threatened species within the Alameda Creek watershed. Steelhead trout on the central California coast were listed under the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species in 1997. Working with the knowledge that the 700 square mile Alameda Creek watershed once supported populations of steelhead, a multi-agency fisheries workgroup, formed in 1999, has been pursuing the goal of reestablishing a healthy steelhead run in the creek. The water flow studies are a critical part of accomplishing this goal. The studies will help to identify how much water will be needed to sustain a viable population, as well as when and where it will be needed. Other native fish and wildlife will be taken into consideration as the studies are done, as will potential impacts to drinking water supplies. The goal is to provide water to restore a steelhead run without compromising water supply.
Flow studies in Alameda Creek will help to determine how much water is needed to sustain a steelhead trout population.

The Alameda County Water District contributed $30,000 towards the studies, as did three other public agencies. The total $120,000 is being matched by the California State Coastal Conservancy. The flow studies will be conducted in two phases by a team of consultants.

ACWD Partners in Streambank Restoration Project
For many years, the eroding banks of the Arroyo de la Laguna, a major tributary of Alameda Creek, have jeopardized property, degraded water quality, and destroyed wildlife habitat. Now, the Alameda County Water District, together with other local, state, and federal agencies, is participating in a federally sanctioned pilot project to battle this serious streambank erosion. The project will demonstrate a series of “biotechnical” stream restoration practices that will protect the streambank and water quality in a way that will also improve and create wildlife habitat. To help slow down the water and deflect it back to the Arroyo’s center, while creating healthier habitat, the project uses harvested eucalyptus trees, Christmas trees, root masses from fallen oak trees, rock barbs, and new vegetative plantings. If successful, these practices may be utilized in other parts of the watershed with similar issues. Because controlling streambank erosion in the Arroyo will improve water quality in Alameda Creek, ACWD has contributed $10,000 to the restoration project. Reducing the amount of silt carried by Alameda Creek will allow cleaner water to percolate into the groundwater basin underlying the Tri-City area. Up to 50% of the water used in Fremont, Newark, and Union City is drawn from this groundwater basin.

The ACWD

Aqueduct
A publication of the Alameda County Water District

Board of Directors
Judy Huang, President Arthur Lampert, Vice President Jim Gunther Marty Koller John H. Weed

Give Your Sprinkler System a Rest
The sun may still be shining and temperatures may still be pleasant, but your lawn knows that we’re deep in the midst of autumn and heading quickly for winter. The shorter days during these months at the end of the year mean that less water evaporates from landscaped areas. With this in mind, give your sprinkler system a rest and cut your usual watering time in half. Winter brings with it even shorter days and wetter weather. During a typical Bay Area winter, the rainfall we receive is more than enough to keep your lawn lush and green. So please remember, once the rainy season begins put your sprinkler system to bed and water only if we go through an extended dry spell. For more information on efficient irrigation practices, visit our website at www.acwd.org or order any of these free landscape irrigation publications using our online order form. • How to Water Your Garden • Water-Wise Gardening for California • Smart Water and Energy Use in the West • ACWD Drought Tolerant Garden Brochure • Landscape Water Control Kit

Board meetings are open to the public and held on the second Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in the ACWD Board Room, 43885 South Grimmer Blvd., Fremont.
Paul Piraino, General Manager Business Office: 43885 South Grimmer Blvd. Fremont, CA 94538 (510) 668-4200 Website address: http://www.acwd.org

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