SFPUC supports revised water bill

San Francisco officials are backing the latest bill to overhaul the state’s water system, saying it addresses protection of The City’s water supply unlike previously proposed legislation.

The show of support is a significant step forward following weeks of strenuous negotiations between lawmakers and officials in Sacramento and San Francisco.

The City, which receives only about 1 percent of the Delta’s water supply and is mostly supplied from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, will have to contribute some of its supply to drought-ridden regions that aren’t getting enough water from the aging Delta system.

The question is how much water will go south – and whether San Franciscans who’ve spent loads of cash to upgrade the Hetch Hetchy system will now have to spend more to fix a Delta system they rarely use.

In a letter to State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, San Francisco Public Utilities General Manager Ed Harrington said the latest bill achieves “a fair solution” regarding the protection of The City’s water supply.

“New language has been added to clarify that our water rights are intact,” Harrington wrote.

Questions remain regarding how the state will pay for the water system overhaul, said SFPUC spokesman Tony Winnicker.

“There are still key questions in funding and how that’s shared,” Winnicker said.

Nevertheless, the SFPUC’s support “is an important and major step” toward finding a solution that will benefit all Californians, he said.

State lawmakers may vote on the water deal as soon as this week.

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