SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) says beginning this weekend, a drought-related shift in its water operations will mean a change to the taste and smell of tap water for the 1.3 million people in the service area.

This is the same issue that led to hundreds of customer complaints at the end of March.

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EBMUD spokesman Abby Figueroa said starting Sunday, they will begin pumping water from the higher levels of Pardee Reservoir, so the lower-colder water can be saved and used for returning salmon this fall per state and federal requirements.

“It’s warmer higher up in the reservoir, there’s more sunshine and because of that there’s more algae in the water. A similar switch in March was halted within days after customer complaints of a metallic and earthy taste. But Figueroa said because supplies were so incredibly low, EBMUD must make the change for the foreseeable future.

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“We are not under normal conditions and this is not the normal water we’re used to,” she said. Figueroa added that chilling it, or running it through a carbon filter if it’s bothersome can help.

Deliveries now going out from the Sacramento River could also impact the taste and smell of district tap water.

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