It took nearly four decades, but Thursday’s ribbon-cutting at a pumping station along the Sacramento River brought a hard-fought battle over water rights to an end. The Freeport Regional Water Project quenches the thirst of two big parts of the state: Sacramento and the East Bay.
Williams: “If you look over here to your right, this big large pipe extending about 20 feet from the ceiling is the actual pump itself …”
The pumping station will pull in up to 185 million gallons of water a day. Some will go to the Sacramento County Water Agency, to serve the capital region’s growing population. The rest will be a backup source during droughts for the East Bay Municipal Utilities District. Program manager Forrest Williams is proudly showing off the new digs.
Williams: “What’s unique about this project is that you had two parties that were at odds who came together and worked on a joint project and were successful in meeting both of their needs.”
But it didn’t come easy. Sacramento and East Bay officials have battled since the 1970’s over whether East Bay MUD should take water from the American River or the Sacramento River. Finally, eight years ago, the two sides agreed to build a pumping station they both could use – and place it in the Pocket area of the Sacramento River.