New water-storage project coming to San Mateo County

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission reached an agreement Tuesday night with two San Mateo County cities and a San Jose-based water company that is expected to benefit 2.6 million Bay Area residents, SFPUC officials announced Wednesday.

The commission's Regional Groundwater Storage and Project with Daly City, San Bruno and California Water Service Co., which serves South San Francisco and Colma, would store water that could be used during emergencies such as a drought or earthquake, SFPUC officials said.

With a price tag of $113 million, the project will construct 16 groundwater facilities along the Peninsula, according to the SFPUC.

The water from normal or heavy rainfall would be stored in the South Westside Groundwater Basin's aquifer and extracted from the 16 facilities for surface water use, SFPUC officials said.

The stored water would reduce the amount of groundwater pumped from the basin, which would be maintained by the partnering agencies, officials said.

Construction for the project will begin next year through 2018.

The project also includes building well stations, pumps and pipelines that would bring 7.2 million gallons of water daily to Bay Area residents, according to the SFPUC.

The project would help the Bay Area reach its water supply requirement during dry years, SFPUC officials said.

Over time, the reduced pumping can save up to 20 million gallons of water, the amount equal to the Crystal Springs Reservoir, SFPUC officials said.

“As we continue confronting the worst drought in our California history, it is essential that we sustain our efforts to implement water resiliency projects for the future,” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement.

Groundwater storage programs in the Santa Clara Valley Water District, Alameda County Water District and Zone 7 Water Services Agency have been proven to be effective, commission officials said.

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