Emergency water bond needs a ballot

There was talk about placing a bond to pay for the much-needed overhaul of the city’s Auxiliary Water Supply System on the November ballot, but it either wasn’t ready in time or the timing wasn’t right. Perhaps June 2010.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd wants to figure out what’s going on with the planning to put the bond on the June ballot. On Tuesday he requested a “hearing on the status of the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond proposed for the June 2010 ballot, and, in particular, plans and projects related to the Auxiliary Water Supply System.”

What is this system? It’s a high-pressure water supply system dedicated to fire protection. Built in 1913, it consists mainly of a 135-mile
pipeline network, a high elevation reservoir and tanks, salt water pumping stations, fireboats, underground water tanks and San Francisco Bay water intakes.

“In addition to fighting fires in the event of an earthquake, AWSS is used throughout the year by the San Francisco Fire Department to fight multiple alarm fires,” according to a recent report.

“The age and condition of the above ground or core facilities compromise the systems reliability and need to be rehabilitated or replaced,” the city report said. The price tag is $87 million.

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