In a major victory for Sierra river advocates, the East Bay's largest water district said Monday it will drop its plan to enlarge a reservoir in the Sierra foothills, which would have inundated stretch of the Mokelumne River prized by kayakers.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District had argued it needed to either raise its dam to enlarge the reservoir or invest heavily in desalination to meet its needs over the next 30 years.
Conservationists and others sued, saying the district had not considered other alternatives, including investing in the far less controversial Los Vaqueros Reservoir near Brentwood.
The possibility of investing in an expansion of the Contra Costa Water District's reservoir was among the factors that led EBMUD to conclude it did not need to raise the dam at Pardee Reservoir.
The district said its other options for meeting its long term water supply needs included water purchases, groundwater storage and desalination.
“The East Bay Municipal Utility District is preparing to issue a draft revised Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for its Water Supply Management Program (WSMP) 2040 that recommends the District defer the project to enlarge Pardee Reservoir and not include it in its thirty year water plan.
The District’s WSMP 2040 is a long-term planning effort intended to ensure the District can supply high quality water to its customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties during droughts. The plan lists a number of strategies to ensure adequate water supplies with a strong emphasis on increased conservation and recycling to reduce customer demand. The plan also includes a variety of supplemental supply options that could be explored in the future, including water transfers, groundwater storage, desalination and regional surface storage.
In the course of conducting the additional analysis necessary to address a court order on the WSMP 2040 environmental documentation, EBMUD determined that it could prepare a
plan with a portfolio of supplemental supply options for the next 30 years without including the enlargement of Pardee Reservoir. The enlargement of Pardee was originally not planned for potential consideration in the near term, and the analysis conducted by EBMUD now indicates consideration of that option can be deferred beyond 2040. … “