San Francisco — The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) announced that construction has been completed on the last two major regional water pipeline projects that are part of the $4.8 billion Hetch Hetchy Water System Improvement Program (WSIP). The Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System is responsible for serving 2.6 million people across the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco and parts of Silicon Valley. Launched in 2002, WSIP is now more than 90 percent complete.

A recent national poll released by the Value of Water Coalition finds that 95 percent of Americans want public officials to invest in water systems, with 60 percent willing to pay more for that security.

“The completion of these two water pipeline projects improves the seismic reliability for the entire San Francisco Bay Area,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly. “Water is the lifeblood of our local communities and our economies. We need to continue stressing the importance of these investing in our water infrastructure to avoid disasters like what occurred in Flint, Michigan.”

In the East Bay, the $54 million San Antonio Backup Pipeline Project, included construction of a new, 1.3-mile-long pipeline and several other facilities in the Sunol Valley to help provide reliable transmission of Hetch Hetchy and local water within the system.  These upgrades now allow for water to travel to and from the San Antonio Reservoir at the same time, which enhances the SFPUC’s operational flexibility and minimizes the risk of service disruption to ensure reliable delivery to its 2.6 million customers.

In northern San Mateo County, the $42 million Peninsula Pipeline Seismic Upgrade Project repaired, replaced and seismically retrofitted vulnerable sections of three different regional water delivery pipelines at six different locations to ensure these critical pipelines can withstand a major earthquake. These two pipelines are among some of the oldest in the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System and were at risk of damage due to potential for earthquake fault displacement, liquefaction and other potential geologic hazards.

Nicole Sandkulla, CEO and General Manager for the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency and one of our partners on the WSIP, explained the importance of this milestone for regional customers, “We are now even closer to our goal of being able to supply water to all customers in the Bay Area within 24 hours after a major earthquake, which is fulfilling the promise of the WSIP.”

The WSIP includes 83 projects to repair, replace, and seismically upgrade the system’s aging pipelines, tunnels, dams, reservoirs, pump stations, storage tanks, and treatment facilities within the System. The WSIP is 90 percent complete and is expected to reach completion in 2019. The WSIP is one of the largest water infrastructure programs in the nation and is the largest infrastructure program ever undertaken by the City and County of San Francisco.  To learn more about the program, visit sfwater.org/wsip.

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