East Bay tap water tasting different as drought continues

- People in the East Bay are noticing something different coming from the tap as the state's ongoing drought impacts the way tap water tastes and smells.

At the Danville Station Firehouse Bar & Grill, the food is popular and the drinks are flowing. But the water is a different story.

"I asked if it was filtered and they said 'It's East Bay MUD.' And I said, 'No, thank you,'" said Susan Schaefer of Danville.

Along the 680 corridor from Walnut Creek south, tap water is not what it used to be.

"Kind of like back in the day when you go swimming or went water skiing and you got water up your nostrils. It pretty much tastes like that," said Doug Himan of the Danville Station Firehouse Bar & Grill.

At nearby Christine's hair salon, customers now get bottled water.

"Since water is something you drink every day, then you notice it and it's part of your life," said Chris Stauber of Danville.

The water is even affecting some hair. "It definitely made a difference for our hair color clients. Hair color is not staying as long and turning colors because of mineral buildup," says Christine Perry, owner of Christine's.

This is all part of a new normal, brought on by the drought and alternate water supplies.

"Sometimes it's the result of the water just being a different source. And so it just has a different chemical makeup," said Andrea Pook of East Bay MUD. "Sometimes it tastes different because with the warm weather we've been having in this drought year, it increases the likelihood that there's algae in the water."

The utility, which supplies the area, says all water districts are facing similar challenges. In fact, the San Francisco PUC, which services some East Bay cities, is warning its customers that from October 11th through the 14th, they may notice a difference in taste or odor.

"You're seeing water agencies deal with drought. The drought has some anticipated and unanticipated, and unwelcome consequences," added Pook.

Back at the Firehouse Grill, the plan is to install a water filtration system, although Doug Himan says it hasn't been bad for business.

"I probably sold more beer and wine because of it too," Himan said with a laugh.

East Bay MUD says that some people might be more susceptible to the bad taste and odor than others. Several people noticed nothing unusual about the water.

But everyone is eager for the drought to end.

"I am really looking forward to this El Nino that we're supposed to get. That good tasting water is going to be great," said Megan Southern of Pleasanton.

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