By Brandon Mercer

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (CBS SF) — The mighty Mokelumne River is not so mighty after three years of the worst drought in California history, so for the first time ever, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) serving Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, and Walnut Creek among other cities, will tap its emergency pipeline from the Sacramento River to maintain levels in reservoirs as the summer approaches.

The utility gets water from the Mokelumne watershed in the Sierra, but also now has a pipeline that connects directly into the main system, bringing water from the Fremont intake on the Sacramento River just south of the capital city.  The water will then go into the regular system, replenishing water in the reservoirs, including San Pablo and Upper San Leandro reservoirs.  The intake was built in 2011 for just this sort of emergency.

The utility purchased 16,000 acre feet of water — enough to fill the Oakland Coliseum 24 times from Sacramento.

This will only solve problems this year, however.

East Bay MUD’s Abby Figueroa said,  “If the drought goes on into 2015, we’ll have to look at other options.”





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