The Zone 7 Water Agency recently released its 2021-22 annual report, which highlights completed construction projects, water conservation participation, and various flood and fire mitigation efforts including the use of goats.
The agency, which supplies water to all of northeastern Alameda County and sells wholesale treated water to local retailers, publishes the report in order to provide information about its operations, updates on drought conditions and overall water quality improvements.
Last year was a particularly significant year as it marked the third year of extreme drought conditions as the report pointed to "record-breaking" low precipitation having affected reservoir levels and groundwater basins.
Because of this, Zone 7 declared a local drought emergency where the agency was able to expedite the completion of the Valley Booster Pump Station, a water reliability infrastructure project.
According to the report, the pump station helped increase the capacity of water wells and reduced the strain on pipelines by lowering the operating pressure.
The drought emergency also allowed the agency to increase its rebate amounts for water efficient lawn conversions resulting in 222 high-efficiency clothes washer rebates and 157 weather-based irrigation controller rebates, according to the report.
It also stated that about 36,854 people visited the agency's website on water conservation and rebates.
"We offer our sincere appreciation to the entire Tri-Valley community for answering our conservation call and reducing water consumption by a total of 10% throughout the previous fiscal year," Zone 7 General Manager Valerie Pryor said in a recent press release.
Another achievement listed in the report were the upgrades to the Patterson Pass Water Treatment Plant, which were completed last spring.
The project -- which cost $110 million for planning, design and construction -- improved the water quality by efficiently upgrading the water treatment process and switching to ozone as the water's primary disinfectant, according to the agency
In terms of flood and fire preparedness efforts, one of the most notable features in the Zone 7 report were the goats that are part of the "Goat in the Zone" project.
According to the report, after a successful pilot program, the agency began deploying across seven different sites where they would "eat overgrown vegetation that gets dry in summer months and is at risk for fire and blocks the flow of water in flood channels during the rainy season."
"The goats 'work' along select access roads and channels to control the growth of herbaceous vegetation and invasive weeds, reduce fire fuel loads and maintain grassland habitat for special-status species," the report states.
One of the main regional highlights that the agency listed in its report included the formation of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project Joint Powers Authority, which is made up of eight regional water agencies.
The group provides oversight of the expansion project, which is an effort to increase the Los Vaqueros reservoir's capacity and to build a pipeline that will connect the reservoir to the South Bay Aqueduct.
Some other water supply reliability projects listed in the report include continued participation in projects like the Sites Reservoir Project, an effort to build a new off-stream reservoir to capture and store stormwater flows from the Sacramento River, and with the Delta Conveyance Project, a project to add new conveyance facilities in the Delta.
View the full report at https://zone7water.report.