Groundwater will be critical supply for drought and emergencies 

click to enlarge groundwater
  • Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo
  • Wells in Golden Gate Park will be part of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s plan to supplement Hetch Hetchy Reservoir water with natural groundwater.
The article “Tap water to be a little less pure” in Thursday’s San Francisco Examiner does a disservice to San Franciscans by needlessly frightening them about a safe water source that will be a critical asset to our water system.

Today, your tap water meets or exceeds federal and state drinking water standards. In another year or so, it will continue to surpass these standards after we begin blending in high-quality groundwater to safeguard our city against drought and emergencies.

Here are some facts for your consideration:

Groundwater, also known as well water, is a natural and reliable water source that is used throughout the world. The California Department of Public Health estimates that 85 percent of California’s public-water systems, supplying more than 30 million residents, rely on groundwater for at least part of their drinking water supply.

Closer to home, our neighbors in Daly City, South San Francisco and San Bruno have been drinking groundwater for more than 60 years from the same aquifer that San Francisco will use.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has undertaken over a decade of studies and a full environmental review, along with taste tests and outreach in preparation for this project.

We are even going the extra mile with this project to safeguard the purity and taste of our Hetch Hetchy tap water. Our additional disinfection and subsequent blending of groundwater with the Hetch Hetchy supply will meet the SFPUC’s operational standards, which are much more stringent than drinking water standards. The groundwater wells planned for the west side of San Francisco will also be between 260 and 460 feet deep, and the sanitary seals on these wells will be at least 100 feet deep, twice the depth required by regulation.

As California faces one of the driest years on record, we need to rally around projects that will keep water flowing to our taps and available for emergencies — not frighten residents with misleading newspaper headlines about contamination.

The current drought serves as a pointed reminder of why our city has been actively investing in diversifying and augmenting our water supplies through recycled water, groundwater, conservation and other projects. Without adequate water supplies, there is simply no future possible. That’s why we need everyone to support ongoing investments in groundwater and recycled water. We remain committed to providing our customers with a reliable, high-quality drinking water supply for today and into the future. San Franciscans expect nothing less from us and we expect nothing less from ourselves.

Eric Mar represents District 1 on the Board of Supervisors. Harlan L. Kelly Jr. is the general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Pin It

More by Harlan Kelly Jr.

Latest in Guest Columns

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation