H 2 Oh yeah!

by Ann Bartkowski

Because I love to hydrate, and because San Francisco has awesome water quality, I take many daily trips to the tap.  Just lately I’ve noticed that our cold water has been coming out of the tap quite cloudy in appearance.  The cloudiness looked to me like it was just coming from the tiny bubbles that would rise to the surface and dissipate after a few minutes, leaving “normal”-looking clear water.  I assumed these air bubbles were caused by a change in pressure in the pipes, but wondered what had caused the change.  Luckily, we live in San Francisco and our city has the amazing website sfwater.org which I highly recommend perusing for all of your water inquiries.  

According to sfwater.org,

“A scheduled shutdown of the pipes that deliver water to the Bay Area from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park has begun.  The shutdown will allow work to be undertaken on the $4.6 billion, 12-year Water System Improvement Program, which aims to upgrade and maintain the water delivery and storage system and protect it from earthquakes. 

The cloudiness is due to tiny air bubbles in the water, produced by an increased rate of flow at the SFPUC’s Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant in the East Bay while we perform winter maintenance on the Hetch Hetchy Water System and provide water exclusively from our local reservoirs.”

So we’re currently getting water from the much more local Sunol Valley, and it flows to us faster, causing bubbles that make our water cloudy. Water mystery solved!  And if all goes according to schedule, we’ll be back to Hetch Hetchy water around the end of February!