Zone 7 Water Agency serves the Tri-Valley
We deliver the highest standard of safe, reliable and affordable water to the Tri-Valley along with overseeing flood protection to eastern Alameda County.
As the Tri-Valley region’s water wholesaler, we work with our water retailers to ensure that over a quarter of a million people in eastern Alameda County are taken care of. We work collaboratively with policymakers and legislators to make sure we can continue providing exceptional service delivery to our community.
What Puts Our Water Supply at Risk?
The Tri-Valley is heavily reliant on imported water through California’s State Water Project, which helps to buffer the impacts of the historic over-pumping of the local groundwater basin from the early to mid-1900s. Along with importing approximately 80% of the water supply, managing the groundwater storage and water quality increases the cost of delivering our water and leaves us vulnerable to long-term reliability concerns.
Challenges that put our communities at risk for water shortages are:
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are emerging concerns as our Agency relies on groundwater during drought periods. Two projects have been approved to alleviate PFAS contamination in groundwater at local wells, however this treatment is expensive and ongoing investment in our treatment system is needed to address this important concern.
The State Water Project infrastructure, which we depend on for most of our water supply, is aging and at risk of failure. Investing in this infrastructure will ensure it continues delivering water to our community. The State Water Project estimates that contractors, such as Zone 7, will have to share in the costs to update these facilities.
The changing climate is impacting California’s water resources, causing prolonged droughts, unpredictable weather patterns, and a reduced snowpack.
How does flooding impact our community?
Atmospheric Rivers bring much-needed rainfall, but also can cause significant channel damage and flooding.
Flood Channel Maintenance:
Ongoing maintenance of our 37 miles of flood channels is vital to our community. Ensuring a clear path for stormwater during rainy seasons protects our homes and business from flooding.
Damage to Infrastructure:
In 2017, and in the most recent storms in 2022 and 2023, storm damage resulted in millions of dollars in damage. The Zone 7 team requires multiple years to repair the hundreds of bank slides that occur during heavy rains. Funding for emergency repairs is dependent on many factors and requires diligent staff effort to identify and secure grants to supplement existing revenues.
Keeping Our Community’s Water and Flood Protection Affordable and Reliable
Zone 7 strives to provide Alameda County with reliable, high-quality water and effective flood protection. We cannot meet this goal without local, regional, state, and Federal collaboration.
Examples of how policymakers can help:
- Provide legislative and funding support for our long-term water supply and storage projects currently underway, including the Sites Reservoir project, Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project, and Delta Conveyance project. Other water supplies under consideration include the Bay Area Regional Desalination project and the Tri-Valley Potable Reuse project.
- Support and funding for the construction and maintenance of PFAS treatment projects to keep water safe and critical production wells online. Zone 7 needs legislative partners to help identify Federal and State funding or other legislative solutions to support projects critical to water reliability and flood protection for the Tri-Valley.
- Funding to support the Federal Flood Subventions programs, which is critical to continuing those flood channels included in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers programs.
Zone 7 Water Legislative Framework
In December of 2021, the Zone 7 Board of Directors adopted a legislative framework to help guide our work in alignment of our Strategic Plan, and provide a roadmap to our legislative committee and staff. Highlights of our framework are outlined below.
Our guiding principles represent the Agency’s adopted policies and plans and frames the Agency’s legislative interests with respect to the Agency’s mission, vision, and values. Recurring planning efforts for which legislative action may be monitored for impacts to the Agency include updates to capital improvement plans, water supply plans (i.e., Urban Water Management Plan, Groundwater Sustainability Plan, Water Supply Evaluation), flood management plans, and fiscal plans and budgets.