STATE OF THE ESTUARY CONFERENCE: Agency officials speak to resilience and water policy in keynote addresses

Lake Merritt; Photo by Tracy Allison Altman
DWR Director Grant Davis, State Board member Steve Moore, and SFPUC’s Steven Ritchie address conference attendees

Every two years, the San Francisco Estuary Partnership holds the State of the Estuary conference, focusing on the management and ecological health of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary. The 13th Biennial State of the Estuary Conference was held October 10-11, 2017 at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland on the shores of Lake Merritt with over 800 people from the Bay, the Delta, and beyond.  The conference showcased the latest information about the estuary’s changing watersheds, impacts from major stressors, recovery programs for species and habitats, and emerging challenges.

On the second day of the conference, Department of Water Resources Director Grant Davis, State Water Board member Steve Moore, and San Francisco PUC’s Steven Ritchie gave keynote speeches, their topics generally focusing on drought and resiliency for the Bay Delta estuary.

GRANT DAVIS: Managing in an Era of Increasing Variability: Building Resiliency into our Social, Political and Eco Systems

With smoke from the wine country fires hanging heavy in the Bay Area’s sky over the State of the Estuary conference, Director of the Department of Water Resources Grant Davis began by noting that the his heart was heavy because of the catastrophic fires that has affected so many, including at least ten of his former colleagues at the Sonoma County Water Agency.

I have just never seen anything like this; it’s ironic but it is in fact what we are dealing with here today is a form of variability and extreme weather – five years of drought followed by essentially the wettest year on record,” he said.  “The title of my speech is ‘Managing in an Era of Increasing Variability, Building Resiliency into our Social, Political and Ecosystems,’ and I am going to go on that theme.”

It’s just amazing to look out at the audience here.  These are friends, colleagues, fellow advocates that are working to protect this wonderful estuary that we call home and that means so much. It defines our region.”

Up until a couple of months ago I was essentially minding my own business working on the Russian River.  I didn’t give a worry about the Bay-Delta; we had our own watershed to deal with.  We import water from the Eel River, which I will freely admit is the case.  I was working on restoring six miles of Dry Creek which is a tributary to the Russian River that has wild Coho salmon. Instead of building a pipeline around Dry Creek, I was given the opportunity to negotiate something that was much more durable, much more sustainable that was not structural in nature.  It was a large scale $50 million habitat restoration project to restore 6 miles out of the 14 miles of Dry Creek to complete and be part of implementing a biological opinion that was issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service. I was basically hired to complete that.”

It’s something I want to describe to you because being a manager of the Sonoma County Water for the last decade I have learned a lot about energy, water, habitat restoration, and what it takes to manage a water agency deliver water to 600,000 people. And do flood control and sanitation and energy. It has prepared me for this current challenge.

Mr. Davis recalled his time working at the Bay Institute.  “A science based organization that was relatively unknown science based organization that didn’t just do science but they actually had the audacity to interpret it.  The Bay Institute pays a dear price for that even to this day because we were hauled into lawsuits. We have lawyers on the board, but not on the staff. More often than not NRDC would come up with an initiative and then entice the Bay Institute to join them and intervene on something bad that was going to happen and slow the process down and try and protect salmon on the San Joaquin or look at Bay-Delta standards, all of which is very important.”

I just found myself for 10 years trying to raise funding during the recession to support incredibly talented staff like Gary Bobker and Tina Swanson and Peter Vorster on down.  It’s a tough road anyone that had to raise money in that period of time just by doing anything to keep their staff. We had to be very efficient and it’s a chapter in my career that I don’t really want to think back on about how hard that actually was.”

Mr. Davis recalled how he has attended many State of the Estuary conferences, and he shared two of the most memorable moments.  “One was the last conference when the students got up and talked about climate change and the fact that all of us are probably going to be blamed for contributing toward it and they’re going have to pick up what’s left.  I don’t know if we have anything like that here again but I’ll never forget it.   And I carry that with me that same sort of recognition that we have to do all that we can to respond to this challenge and to do anything less would be absolutely immoral.

The second is one of my proudest moments that was about four years ago … We launched the indicators project that we had worked on for two years plus.  We came up with accurate suite of measures on how you would track our progress on protecting and restoring the San Francisco Bay, the Delta, the Sacramento River Basin and the San Joaquin.  I have never been so proud to see that the Estuary Partnership adopt that and had Tina Swanson deliver some of the metrics that dealt with fish. Essentially there were 10 different, fairly easy to understand multi-metric indices that were produced to give us a snapshot in time and to be able to track how we were performing collectively.  Those are two moments, but there are many, many more.”

Director Davis then turned to the California Water Fix, noting that it’s a priority of the Governor’s and an ambitious project with a long way to go.  “It’s something where I’ve come full circle and I’m going to go back to the science, I’m going back to Dr. Peter Moyle a colleague, a friend and sort of my moral compass on the Bay-Delta.   I looked at Peter Moyle who’s dedicated his life to making sure that Delta smelt don’t go extinct on our watch.   Peter has shared with me where he’s at. I’m going to share that with you.  Peter is one of the most accomplished scientists I’ve ever worked with. Peter editorialized about it a month ago that the Delta is in such a bad shape and so unsustainable that of all the projects out there and all the steps we can take, that some form of the California WaterFix is our best alternative right now. And he said that because of the way that we manage water in California damages the smelt so severely that they literally not going to make it. In fact the last trolling results showed just about no delta smelt. He’s very, very worried and alarmed and so I’m I.  The way that we take water out, literally reverses the flow in the south delta at the pumping plants. That has to be addressed.”

I’m in this for the long haul. I’m looking at better water management and better stewardship in California. Marshaling the tremendous resources of the 3,400 employees of the Department of Water Resources and dedicating that organization to stewarding our resources to delivering a clean, reliable water supply for California. The way I think we do that is ultimately to look at the WaterFix along with EcoRestore as a package. For a variety of reasons they’re not seeing that where they’ve been delinked but we’re making very substantive progress on EcoRestore. About 8,000 acres have been purchased or are in the process of being purchased for meeting that goal. The targets are very, very ambitious and I’ll admit we may never get there but you know what it looked like back when BDCP was formed, and I’m thinking that we’re not going to stop at 8,000 acres because that does not restore the Delta.  They are capable of defining what does a restored Delta look like and we ought to be striving toward something like that.

Now that Southern California is in, we’re probably going to be building something that could take 10 years and we’ve got 10 years as is; hopefully the Delta Smelt aren’t going to go extinct before then. And we’re going to take substantive steps to improve that. So that’s what’s on my mind right now, that we have a solemn obligation to look at the entire state of California. I think that I am feeling that there needs to be a 58 county water strategy employed on California Water. We have to mobilize every region, they’re all different and unique, they all have different needs.”

The Coho are coming back on the Russian River and that’s my motto.  The fact that we’ve worked with private land owners and we’re implementing a biological opinion not trying to fight it – that’s a pathway forward, that’s what gives me hope. The fact that Sonoma County was able to go carbon-free with their water supply, and by 2015 we met that goal. Every molecule that is being delivered through the Russian River system is a sustainable source of renewable power that provides the electricity that pump and move that water. Things like that are possible.”

We’re here to celebrate our accomplishments, whether you are intimately involved in this achievement or you will be because you’re going to claim credit for being part of this vast cadre of scientists and advocates that want to protect and restore this crown jewel of the California, which is the Bay-Delta.”

STEVE MOORE: Policy Recipe for Water Reliability and Resiliency in California: What Are the Ingredients?

Steve Moore began by presenting a slide of ingredients for a recipe, noting that it is a disaggregated set of elements to could make up a delightful confection from a cookbook. “That’s the question I hope to answer – what are the key ingredients for water policy to be successful in dealing with climate change, population increases, and confronting our aging infrastructure in a multidisciplinary way?

Let’s go to someone who is a tried and true recipe guru like Martha Stewart,” he said.  “She actually gave this speech at a commencement ceremony 10 years after she was convicted of insider trading. She showed resiliency.  She said, “There is no single recipe for success but there is one essential ingredient, which is passion.­  She was talking about career. Well, let’s­­­­ hold that thought.

How many of here have heard of the California Water Action Plan?  It’s about reliability, water supply, restoration of important ecosystem functions and resiliency in the face of climate change and other changes that make our water supply vulnerable and our ecosystems vulnerable. It was formulated actually in the end of 2013 and just as our drought was getting underway.  These are the elements: reliability, restoration and resiliency.  We talk about conservation and efficiency and integrated water management, which really is our supply portfolio being diversified so we have self reliance at the local level.   We elevate ecosystems in this discussion, prepare for droughts, elevate the issue of safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities, flooding and also the importance of a sustainable long-term financing strategy for infrastructure and water quality, water quantity. So how do we accomplish this all-of-the-above menu. Well, I will put forward the idea that’s about reconnection. That will be the underlying theme.”

I imagine a matrix between water and people, kind of a genetic table.  You have water and  people in the columns and the rows.  At each box we talk about the need to reconnect water to water, water to people, people to water and then support them, and of course in the end we need to connect people to people around this very fundamental and vital resource that makes communities possible.”

In connecting water to water, we need to manage our systems to better connect surface and ground water. We need to connect our rivers and creeks to flood plains. We need to have a longitudinal connection from the headwaters to the ocean and even on a more micro scale, we need slough systems for lifecycles and productive nurseries, and we need to be connected to the bay through these systems of channels.”

Let’s go to another box. Water to people. What are some examples of that? Well, the human right to water is part of that challenge that we have over 300 communities in our state that don’t have access to safe affordable and accessible drinking water, which is not acceptable. Bringing water to those people. But there’s also the issue of reliable water supply for our urban and domestic uses, and for our agricultural uses. The quantities we need and what time. These are important for viability. For commercial fisheries and for the ecosystem protection. The people depend on those things as well as families and communities having reliability during drought.”

This is where I put in my flag for connectivity with institutions. During the drought there was some institutional innovations and we looked at consolidation of agencies that are doing duplicative work and also just coordination through JPAs and other means.  Then physical coordination between the Bay Area and greater water plan, which is looking at intertie infrastructure so they’re not forming a new agency, they’re just coordinating. Also water to people in recreational and ceremonial settings; clearly gathering places by the water, a very important and compelling ways to bring water to the people.

Connecting people to the water. In Santa Ana region, the One Water One Watershed, the OWOW campaign talked about a California Water Ethic – this idea about bringing people to an understanding about the value of water. That is where real water comes from. What is the cost in environment? Where does it go when you’re done with it and how is it used or not? What happens to rain when it falls on your property where you live and work?  This water literacy is something that we’re going to need to be able to respond to what the future holds.”

This in my mind begs the important issue of having a healthy relationship with water and not dysfunctional, to use that metaphor. You don’t take water for granted, you don’t possess it. It’s a mutual respect between communities and the water supplies that support them.  An example I believe of success during the drought was a real transformation and understanding in the population of our state about the value of water and the beauty of Californian native landscapes and the beauty of other water efficiency.”

Mr. Moore then presented a graph of urban water production by month, noting that it shows five different years with a baseline of 2013 for overall water production in the state.  “The white line shows when the suggested cuts for use are voluntary and then the blue line shows when they became mandatory.  Then we had the stress test evaluations of 2016 and now we’ve kept the reporting going in 2017 and we see a sustained reduction of about 20% wet weather and 15% dry weather. The amazing thing about this success in adjusting our overall production is the population during that time in our state grew by 1.2 million people but we still cut our water use significantly. So there’s more water literacy that we can build on in our state going forward.”

Finally, connecting people to people … think of wastewater, water and flood control as one water system. We need to connect federally, state and locally, public and private entities, NGOs, and we have to reach out to our fellow citizens in urban, agriculture, fishing communities, recreation users and connect with each other and understand each other’s water needs and ways that we can achieve them all.  For all walks of life, water is what we rely on. Our lives and livelihoods. So it really is something to work on together. We have a lot more water in us than anything else and certainly more than melanin.”

Let’s ponder this a little bit. Dystopia or revival.  We’ve introduced a lot of disconnections in our water cycles and in our institutions, which are fragmented, so it takes effort to reconnect. But if you advocate for the disconnection of water from itself or from people, if you favor one use to the exclusion of others, you are working against the very nature of water and of people. And you’re pursuing a pathway of separation, which is a heritage of conflict, to quote John Wesley Powell.”

If you direct your passion toward separating water use into one category over another, you’re working toward the recipe for failure. You fail to meet water quality standards and public health protection, you fail to recharge ground water basins and operate them sustainably, you fail to realize the value of water in our communities, and you fail to connect people to the water that sustains them and to sustain a heritage a native species that we have imperiled over the course of only one or two generations.  We’re failing to benefit from the connected surface in ground water and floodplain systems and all the services they provide beyond water supply itself.

What’s an ideal recipe to address this disconnection to reconnect?

Let’s say we use one cup of collaboration and a half cup of trust building because it takes longer to get that going and trust building is an exercise of sustained commitment – commitment of resources, to processes, proofs of concept and just a commitment to work together.

You preheat the oven and recognize local management in our big state is how we do this.

But there is a role for the state backstop of oversight and I will say, just one teaspoon of a credible threat from state intervention motivates local leadership and responsibility. Just one teaspoon taken in small doses.

Add water as a service but not a commodity.  We have had a hangover from the 20th century where we sold water on volumetric basis. There was perverse incentive that we inherited through no fault of our own and many agencies during the drought were able to be fiscally sound because they had done water budgets. There’s a need in our state to look at water budgeting on a micro scale, household farm type level as well as a macro scale on a basin-wide basis and look at supply and demand. And certainly the human right to water comes into play.

Let’s add a dash of open water data. In the end public investment that we need that Secretary Laird talked about yesterday, it requires public support. The way we get public support, we build that through effective communication of water data.

Stir this regularly and simmer through joint fact finding partnerships. Because in the end successful policy is that which people see themselves in.  I was part of this, I’m bought in, I believe it will work. This recipe serves 40 million.”

What are the key ingredients here for the water policy recipe? Well, they should be fresh and local, not too much salt. Anchovies I’ve selected them as they symbolize a healthy diet but they’re also the most abundant fish species in the estuary. We have some garlic from Gilroy and tomatoes from Yolo County. There has to be an appetite. Timing is everything, right? If they don’t eat the recipe, maybe they’re just not hungry enough. Another drought could help, with more innovation and reconnection.”

Who is this dashing gentleman? He is the most famous scientist and explorer you have never heard of. Yes. He wrote Cosmos in the mid 1800s. He inspired Jefferson, Darwin, and others and emphasized the interconnectedness of all disciplines and sciences.  Alexander Von Humbodlt is the first champion of scientific connectedness and passion. So his holistic principles to scientific understanding can inspire a water policy recipe for success. He’s my hero. So connectivity is the key ingredient for sustainable water resources. Well, he didn’t say that, but I bet he would.”

Maybe there is a place for some passion, some heat. But not too much heat. How about what we need really is light. When light is shared upon water, people respond favorably. In your work ask yourself, is what I’m doing helping connect the water cycle? Is it helping to bring water to people that need it? Is it helping to bring people to a better understanding about water and its vital nature? Is my work bringing people and organizations together? These are the connections we all need to work toward with renewed passion to ensure a recipe for success.

STEVEN RITCHIE: Infrastructure stability in the increasingly unstable times

I was asked to speak about infrastructure because it is a very important part of the human element of the ecosystem,” began Steven Ritchie.  “It really is part of the ecosystem of California. Whether we actually like that or not, it is something that is essential to life.  So I’m going to talk about my particular infrastructure that I have to deal with and all the things we have to deal with.”

I’m going to talk about the infrastructure pieces because it does face a lot of risks.  This is the San Francisco water system with several reservoirs and several hydroelectric plants. 85% of our supply comes from the Tuolumne River.  We serve about 2.7 million people in the Bay Area. It’s an essential part of life in the Bay Area.  One of the things that is part of the infrastructure that is not obvious from this slide is the watersheds.  The watersheds are absolutely the most essential part of any infrastructure that we have.

There are lots of sources of instability that we face:  Fire, drought, earthquakes, climate change, aging workforce, reduced revenues, regulatory changes, and change under the domes.”

“Let’s talk about fire first,” he said, presenting a map of the fire (below, left).  “This is a map showing the Rim fire area of effect. It was 257,000 acres, third largest wild fire in California history. And it was important to us because it did burn around our three reservoirs as well as around two of our hydroelectric power houses.  It was a real tense time for us in Francisco dealing with this and the risk to our infrastructure and the potential risk to water quality.  There was actually a headline in the papers that said ‘Ash rains down on Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.’  That was a great PR move for us.”

That was followed by this beautiful editorial cartoon from the San Francisco Chronicle that I continue to enjoy to this day because I really want to emphasize the importance of our water sheds.  It wasn’t that the concrete was going to burn; it’s that our watersheds could burn and could adversely affect the drinking water quality for a lot of people.”

Drought is another big risk that we’ve all had to live with. In San Francisco residential use dropped down to 41 gallons per person per day as a show of how well conservation worked there. But this plot shows every dot represents a four-year period.  It’s dry and hot in the upper left and cold and wet in the bottom right. The significant one is up there. The four years from 2012 to 2015 was the driest and hottest four-year series on record by quite a bit. So it’s important to note that drought is with us and whether it is climate change-induced or not is not really relevant. It is just there and something we have to live with.”

For earthquakes, we’ve invested heavily in our system with the Water System Improvement Program, about $4.8 billion for 85 projects throughout the water system.  It was primarily aimed at a set of service goals. This is very important for basically everybody in restoration or in infrastructure management: You have to know what you’re aiming for. You have to pretty specific if you want to get somewhere. We established a level of service goals and objectives that were primarily seismic.  A lot of this was aimed at seismic improvements because we have to cross three faults with our system.  We’re mostly done; we expect to have the rest done by the end of 2018.  Right now, we’re looking at another billion half dollars of capital improvements we might have to do on the water for a lot of different reasons.”

Climate change this is something we obviously have to deal with. Something that San Francisco has done is to develop guidelines for incorporating sea level rise into planning for capital projects in San Francisco.  All city agencies are obligated to follow this guidance to recognize that sea level rise is here. Tor our sewer system in particular, this is really critical to how we deal with sea level rise because we have points where water flows out; we don’t have points where water flows in, so water is bad for sewage treatments so we really have to deal with that issue in a big way.”

Climate change projections show decreasing snowpack,” said Mr. Ritchie, presenting three projections of future snowpack from the Department of Water Resources, noting that the hotter colors indicate the deeper snowpack.  “You can see looking forward into a lower warming range into a higher warming range. Either way this snow pack is going to shrink and we should get used to that.  We will maybe get the same amount of precipitation but more of it will come as rain so we’re going to be losing storage in our snow pack.  Storage of water in the future is going to be very important because all of our systems don’t need work when there’s lots of water. It fills dry times when there’s not. It’s how you survive through a drought.  So storage either additional surface water reservoirs or additional groundwater storage is going to be very important.”

Aging workforce, this is one that I have to worry about a lot. This is a chart showing people who are eligible for retirement working from 2015 through 2020.  Each one of those bars on the left hand side is my folks. The water enterprise has about a thousand people who work for me. 43% of our workforce is eligible for retirement. I have no intention of retiring.  That’s a lot of people leaving the door, that’s a lot of knowledge, that’s a lot of capability, and that’s a lot of experience. One of the things in all of our fields that we have to do is make sure we’re nurturing and bringing in younger people who are going to step in and solve the problems that we created.  We’ve created a lot of problems; we solved a few things but not many. We have to solve a lot more in the future and it’s going to be those young people who do it.”

Reduced revenue due to decreased water sales. …  We’re driven to pay for water volumetrically. Volumetrically means when you scale down, your revenues go down but your costs don’t go down. So you find yourself facing a problem there to deal with.  This is a graph of our sales between 2007 and 2017. On the left hand side is our sales to our wholesale customers outside of San Francisco; the right side is our retail sales to customers in San Francisco.  During those 10 years and of course the last couple of years there were projections, we had a 37% drop in wholesale demand and a 20% drop in retail demand. Actually our charts actually shows the rebound that is probably bigger than what you’re seeing at the state particularly because we had a lot of hot weather after that. The line ended there. It’s not as glorious as it looks but we’re still using less than 2013.”

This revenue issue is one that people face throughout California.  It’s making sure that people understand it and that they’re really paying for access to water; they’re not paying for the gallons, they’re paying for the ability to get the gallons when they need it, whether it’s because you want to get a glass of water in the middle of the night or you have to fight a fire in your neighborhood or whatever. Water is essential.”

Regulatory changes is a big one. I can’t talk to anybody anywhere without Flint coming up some way or other. Flint was a horrible circumstance; it was where the only guy who did their job in Flint was the guy who was charged with saving money. Every level of government failed in Flint.

There’s two things you have to do with water: first, make sure it’s disinfected and second, make sure it doesn’t corrode the pipes and cause problems that way. They blew it in Flint in a big way.  There’s a lot of effects of that; obviously direct environment justice impacts. It was a poor community and they suffered consequences they should not have. It’s going to affect the infrastructure replacement priorities. I think the estimates in Chicago to replace lead service lines is by $4 billion. That’s their entire capital program for their entire water infrastructure but they’re going to have to focus on lead for a while.”

We started focusing on lead in San Francisco back in the early 80s and have gotten virtually all the lead out of the system. We still find little residues here and there but it’s a real big deal. … People are nervous about their water quality as a result of Flint and we’re going to see stricter regulatory oversight. Revised lead and copper rule will be coming out.  Big events cause regulations to happen and that’s something that we just have to live with.”

Then we also have contaminants of emerging concern. We do studies regularly to find out what’s next out there. The state board started to regulate 123 TCP, they tried to regulate hexavalent chromium and didn’t do it right but now they’re going to redo it, and I’m sure it will come along.  There’s always some new constituent we have to worry about and deal with. So it’s a constant challenge to keep up there and make sure you’re delivering a healthy and reliable product.”

The Lower San Joaquin River – the state water board proposes to require more flow on the San Joaquin. The impacts on water supply we believe will be significant in drier years from their proposal. The benefits we think can be achieved in other ways and we’re working to negotiate an alternative solution.  I was struck by a little bit of trust building in negotiating solution among parties; there is huge hill to climb on the trust building on that front.  I think we’re getting somewhere on that but I’m not sure where it’s going to be.”

A credible threat is important.  A credible threat is a draft plan; a final plan that is adopted is no longer a credible threat. It’s something to potentially go to court on. I think that it is important; there’s no question. For San Francisco, this is a big issue because we obviously exist at both ends to the system. We take water from the upper watersheds and we deliver it to people who live and work and play around the Bay as we all do. So both of those things are important to us, and we want to make sure we come up with a solution that is good for both of those.”

Change under the domes.  Which one do we have to watch out for the most? Is it Washington DC? or is it the California capital or is it across the street for me?  Politicians in each one of those will do things for different reasons … People who are in those buildings like to think that they’re thinking about the long term but they’re not; they are thinking short term all the time. For managing infrastructure in the US you have to be thinking about the long term. You have to think not in terms of 50 years, 60 years, and 100 years because that’s the only way that Steve’s recipe can survive and all of our other recipes can survive. These people can be our friends but not always, no matter which side of the equation you are on.”

How do we work to provide stability? Well I think it’s important to define and review. It’s kind of like triennial review of basin plans; it doesn’t mean you have to update it, but it means you have to look at it, think hard about it, and come to a decision.  This applies to all agencies, we need to define and periodically review levels of service. You have to think about water quality, seismic reliability, delivery reliability, and water supply including diversification of water supplies. We’re about to break ground on a recycled water project in San Francisco. We turned off the recycled water project in San Francisco 1981. So we technically haven’t recycled any water in San Francisco for the last 36 years. Well, we’re breaking ground next month on a recycled water project thanks to some funding from the State Water Board to help get that going again the Golden Gate Park.”

Environmental stewardship is absolutely critical in all things we do.  We need to be good protectors of the environment.  We own 60,000 acres of watershed land in the Bay Area that we have to manage and the events in Sonoma and Napa have caused us to really, really start thinking harder than ever about the importance of how we manage that land in the way to avoid fires.”

Sustainability, we’re actually thinking about sustainable solutions, ones that are going to last. The Hetch Hetchy water system was developed in fact a hundred years ago and it’s lasted that time.  It’s low energy use is driven by gravity and we extract hydroelectric power from it. So it’s actually itself is a model of sustainability.”

Cost effectiveness. Everything costs money, nothing is cheap. These are all policy decisions which serve as the basis for budget priorities leading to risk mitigation. So you have to make your choices and you have to try to make the best ones you can and move forward. They all cost millions, actually somebody I was talking to about this said, “You put the wrong consonant there, billions.” It costs billions of dollars to make sure that we have life blood going on. As our of wastewater manager used to say, “Steve takes the water from God and gives it to the people. I take water from the people clean it up and give it back to God.” That’s another part of the water cycle because it is absolutely an essential part of our system.”

Our responsibilities extend beyond water delivery and I have to freely confess I just love this picture and that’s why it’s the last one on here. Because when you’re working up around Hetch Hetchy reservoir, there’s lots of stakeholders and these are two of my favorites up there.  That is part of managing the resources that are entrusted to our care, which is built right into our mission statement and so it’s important for us. But we have to make sure that we’re supporting the community and protecting the environment at the same time. It’s not an easy job but it’s one that we’re absolutely committed to. Thanks very much.”


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