Richmond-San Rafael water pipeline to Marin moves forward

Despite a much improved water supply situation in the North Bay, the Marin Municipal Water District moved a bit closer to a new emergency pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge from the East Bay. Key question: will this proposed pipeline across this bridge be enough?

Thanks to recent rains, the Phoenix Reservoir spillway is spilling, but there are no guarantees for the future for the Marin Municipal Water District's 191,000 customers. 

On Tuesday East Bay Municipal Utilities District Planning Committee, outlined and refined conditions it would require before the $90 million, 8-mile long, emergency water pipeline could be assembled and connected to Marin

"They would need to find a seller and, essentially, the water would be wheeled through the East Bay water district regional system to their facility," said EBMUD Public Information Officer Andrea Pook.

Among the many conditions: no cost to East Bay MUD or its customers, no less water or water pressure for its own customers and acceptance of the project by the city of Richmond, where the project would be connected to East Bay. 

"The siting locations for the pump stations are really going to have significant impacts on the residents in Point Richmond and they need to be reconsidered. Their locations in right at Tewksbury and Castro which is a residential area," said Point Richmond resident Douglas Anthony in public comment. 

"We want for whatever those impacts are  to be addressed by Marin for the Richmond community," said EBMUD's Pook. And, some complain, that Marin is using the long-known limitations on Marin's water storage ability to claim it's in an emergency to waive an Environmental Impact Report. "This application is premature because Marin Water has not met the intent and purpose of the California Environmental Quality Act," said Frank Egger of the North Coast Rivers Alliance.

SEE ALSO: California gets more rain but remains in drought

If approved, by next summer, it would pump and carry some 8 million gallons a day over Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. It's highly complex because four or more different water agencies are involved. "Adding to all of this complexity is the fact that we've had a pretty good rain year so far in the North Bay. But, the questions still arise. Will the rains keep coming? Will the drought be over? And when will the next drought come? "How do you solve that problem? What do they need to do both now and in the future?" said Pook.

East Bay MUD says, it only wants to cover all of its costs, not make a profit on Marin.