SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. — The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), San Mateo County Board President Carole Groom, and officials from the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency recently launched another $320 million in scheduled upgrades for the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System. The four projects beginning construction in the Peninsula region are part of the SFPUC’s $4.6 billion Water System Improvement Program and include upgrades to a reservoir system, water treatment plant, and regional pipelines. Together these improvements will allow the SFPUC to return minimum water service to more than 1 million people in San Mateo County and San Francisco within 36-hours of a major seismic event. Construction is slated to begin in March 2011 and be completed within a four year period.

"The devastating earthquake in Japan is a sobering reminder of the need to have a seismically secure and reliable drinking water system," said SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington. "In 2011, the SFPUC will have an estimated $2 billion in active construction throughout the Bay Area to upgrade the water system. All these investments will help ensure that people can continue to count on the daily delivery of water, even after a major earthquake."

The launch event was held on the water’s edge adjacent to two outlet towers that draw water out of the Crystal Springs Reservoirs. These historic structures, built in 1891 and 1936 by Spring Valley Water Company, are scheduled to be demolished and submerged under the water line as part the system upgrades. Work at these structures and in the reservoirs represents the most extensive underwater work in the Water System Improvement Program. Additional work in the vicinity includes upgrades to the spillway and parapet wall at the top of the Lower Crystal Springs Dam built in 1890. This concrete, gravity-arch dam was one of the first major water infrastructure projects on the San Francisco Peninsula and would later serve as a model for the Hoover Dam.

Active water system projects in San Mateo County
Kiewit Infrastructure West Inc. was awarded contracts for the Lower Crystal Springs Dam Improvements project ($17.36 million), the CSSA Transmission System Upgrade project ($99.7 million), and the Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant – Long Term Improvements project ($174 million).

The Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant treats and delivers water stored in the Crystal Springs Reservoir System to residents and businesses throughout the Northern Peninsula. The plant is located just 1,000 feet east of the San Andreas Fault. This project will structurally retrofit the existing facility and improve treatment capacity and reliability. All improvements must occur while maintaining 24/7 operation of the plant. Construction is slated to begin in April/May 2011 and continue for four years.

Modifications to the spillway, parapet wall, and stilling basin of the Lower Crystal Springs Dam will restore the historic water storage capacity of the Crystal Springs Reservoirs.

The CSSA project work will upgrade and retrofit the transmission systems that move water within the reservoir system and to the Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant. Work has begun near the southern trailhead of the popular Sawyer Camp Trail. The Trail will remain open during construction. For more information:

Starting in April, Ranger Pipelines, Inc, the contractor for the Crystal Springs Pipeline No. 2 Replacement Project, will replace and repair segments of a 19-mile pipeline traversing the Peninsula from Hillsborough north to Daly City, including segments along El Camino Real. The value of this contract is $32.5 million. For more information:

These projects are part of the SFPUC’s $4.6 billion Water System Improvement Program (WSIP) to repair, replace, and seismically upgrade the aging Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System. WSIP includes more than 80 projects spanning seven counties from the Central Valley to downtown San Francisco. Find out more about the WSIP program at