About 50 million gallons of water lost in East Bay vandalism attack

FREMONT, Calif. (KTVU) - Investigators in Fremont are working to find the vandal or vandals who destroyed an inflatable dam on the Alameda Creek.

The dam held back approximately 50 million gallons of drinking water, which is enough to supply 500 homes for a year.

The vandals struck Thursday morning. Water authorities say whoever damaged the dam had to have worked at it.

Robert Shaver, General Manager for the Alameda County Water District said, despite being inflatable rubber, the dam was quite sturdy.

"This is not you're floatie pool toy, that you would have in your pool, this is a robust, very thick rubber," said Shaver. "The people that conducted this act definitely had malicious intent."

The dam was designed to divert water to the nearby Quarry Lakes. There the water would have settled to replenish groundwater.

"When it was damaged, it released the impounded water that was behind it. So, about 50 million gallons of water simply flowed to the San Francisco Bay."

Friday evening crime scene investigators from Fremont police were on scene, gathering evidence they hope will lead to whoever targeted the dam.

Investigators are tight lipped on what evidence, if any, they've recovered. "I really can't get into the details about what kind of evidence we have, because we don't want to compromise the investigation," said Shaver.

Despite the loss, water authorities say the wasted water shouldn't have a long term impact on their ability to supply water to Fremont, Newark and Union City residents.

Residents in the area who walk by the reservoir regularly, like Vicki Mathis, noticed something amiss right away. "I stopped right here last night and I thought, 'wow, they must have let all the water out,'" said Mathis.

She walks the area just about every day, and said she can't understand why someone would target the water supply, when everyone else is conserving.

"I'm barely using water at home. I'm not watering my plants," said Mathis. "And this? For what? How could you possibly feel good about doing something like that?"

This crime is under investigation by the Fremont Police Department. The Alameda County Water District is providing information and assistance wherever possible. Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to contact Detective A. Ceniceros at Aceniceros@fremont.gov or (510) 790-6900.