Source switch clouds SF's water

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By Jobert Poblete

If you've noticed that your water has been looking a little off recently, you aren't the only one. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is warning Bay Area residents that tap water may look cloudy for the next few weeks while maintenance and construction work is completed on the pipeline that delivers pristine water from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park.

Work on the pipeline shut off the flow from Hetch Hetchy, which normally supplies around 85 percent of San Francisco's water. In the meantime, residents will be drinking water sourced closer to home from reservoirs in the Peninsula and East Bay.

SFPUC officials assure consumers that the water is safe. The cloudiness is caused by the presence of air bubbles introduced in the pipelines by the construction work and by an increased rate of flow at an East Bay
treatment plant. The department recommends letting drinking water stand for a few minutes to give the air bubbles a chance to break apart.

SFPUC is taking advantage of low seasonal water demand to perform regular maintenance and to complete work as part of the Water System Improvement Program, a multi-year, $4.6 billion upgrade of the region's water infrastructure. The Hetch Hetchy pipeline is expected to be back on-line by February 19.