After four decades of legal battles, public officials will celebrate the opening of a new water intake and pumping facility that will provide a critical supplemental water supply for 1.3 million East Bay customers, the East Bay Municipal Utility District announced this week.
The Freeport Intake and Pumping facility in Sacramento will take water from the American River to provide 85 million gallons of water a day to customers in Sacramento. In times of drought, the new facility will provide up to 100 million gallons a day to customers in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, according to EBMUD.
EBMUD's part of the project is nearly complete and could begin serving East Bay customers as soon as this summer, according to EBMUD.
EBMUD officials, however, do not expect that they will need to access the supplemental water this year, since water supplies are just below average, according to EBMUD spokeswoman Andrea Pook.
The legal battle over the project began about 40 years ago. At issue were EBMUD's federal contract rights to take water from the American River, water the utility district has been paying for but not receiving since 1970, according to EBMUD. Sacramento leaders, however, claimed that taking water from the river was an unfair infringement on their rights, since the American River is considered a valuable recreational asset to the area.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held today morning at the new facility, which is located at 7760 Freeport Blvd. in Sacramento. U.S. Reps. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Creek; Dan Lungren, R-Fair Oaks; Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento; and Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton; will attend the event along with water officials and other elected officials representing Sacramento and the East Bay.