Yosemite Rim Fire and Sunnyvale Water Supply

You’ve probably all been following the news about the Rim Fire near (and now in) Yosemite.  There are some potential theoretical threats to us from this, although so far everything looks OK.  The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has had to make changes to its power generation, since two of the three power houses which power San Francisco are in the middle of the fire zone.  There are also threats to the transmission wires in the area.  So they’ve arranged for alternate power transmission to ensure the power supply remains.

Of more pressing concern to Sunnyvale is the threat to the water supply, but I’ll start by saying that there is no immediate threat to us.  The northern half of Sunnyvale gets its water from the SFPUC and Hetch Hetchy.  There is some concern that the fires may impact the quality of Hetch Hetchy water.  The SFPUC has been testing the water “continuously” according to news reports, and there are no indications of any problems or changes to water quality.  Note that Hetch Hetchy is famous for providing unusually pure water, so we’re starting out way ahead already.  But the SFPUC has made arrangements with the Santa Clara Valley Water District and one other (East Bay Municipal Utilities District, I think) to make their water available to as a short-term alternative, should conditions near Yosemite change and negatively affect the Hetch Hetchy supply.  So far, no problems. And water transmission is unaffected by this, since the pipes are all buried under ground.

I serve as Sunnyvale’s representative on the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, which partners with the SFPUC to bring water to Sunnyvale.  So I’m receiving daily updates on the status of things, and everything seems to be well under control right now.  But let’s hope they can get this fire under control soon, because it’s a bad one.


Yosemite Rim Fire and Sunnyvale Water Supply — 3 Comments