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Landmark Water Agreement Approved

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 15, 2002
Contacts:  
John Martin, City Manager (650) 991-8127
Patrick Sweetland, Director, Daly City Department of Water and Wastewater Resources (650) 991-8200
Sean Elsbernd, Aide to San Francisco Supervisor Tony Hall (415) 554-6516
Beverly Hennessey, Director of Communications, SFPUC (415) 554-1830
Robert Maddow, Bold, Polisner, Maddow, Nelson and Judson (925) 933-7777
Mark Bergstrom, Executive Director, CalTrout (415) 392-8887
Dennis Bouey, Olympic Club (415) 345-5152
Michael Feil, Lake Merced Golf Club (650) 755-2233

Environmental, Community Groups Support Effort

Daly City, SF and Golf Courses
Approve Landmark Water Agreement
That Will Preserve Lake Merced


Daly City - A landmark water agreement between Daly City and San Francisco will create a new water recycling plant in Daly City to provide irrigation for three of the area's leading golf courses and help to reverse the decline in Lake Merced's water level.

The two cities, along with the Olympic Club, Lake Merced Golf Club and San Francisco Golf Club, approved a 50-year agreement that supports the construction of a $6 million water recycling plant by Daly City at its treatment facility at Lake Merced and John Daly Boulevards. Further, San Francisco and Daly City have agreed to a series of programs to reduce groundwater usage, increase aquifer recharge, and evaluate diversion of storm runoff into the Lake.

The historic regional resolution was a multi-agency collaboration between Daly City, the North San Mateo County Sanitation District, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the golf courses, and California Trout, Inc. The agreement calls for the golf courses to switch from groundwater use, in exchange for recycled water from the new Daly City plant.

"Lake Merced's stakeholders have come to a mutually agreeable solution to overall usage of the groundwater aquifer," said San Francisco Supervisor Tony Hall. "Without question, this is a rebirth for Lake Merced and victory for the environment."

Daly City Vice Mayor Adrienne Tissier said, "This partnership will create a three-part program that benefit Lake Merced, the golf courses, and our communities. It is ecologically responsible and a fine example of good public policy in managing water resources."

The City of Daly City, the NSMCSD and the golf courses have adopted the recycled water agreement earlier this month, and the SFPUC approved it last night. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to formally ratify the agreement within the next few weeks.

Local environmental and community organizations worked to accomplish the agreement. The Friends of Lake Merced, CalTrout and San Francisco Beautiful played supportive roles in making the pact a reality.

"The three clubs and two cities made a tremendous effort to get this deal done," said Jerry Cadagan of the Committee to Save Lake Merced. "They have each made sacrifices for the overall benefit of the environment, the community and each other, and they are to be commended."

Mark Bergstrom, Executive Director of California Trout, whose organization took action in January 2001 to initiate a cooperative resolution to restore Lake Merced, said, "The SFPUC, Daly City, and the three golf courses are to be commended for providing superb leadership to restore the beneficial uses of one of the City's crown jewels, Lake Merced. This is a landmark agreement."

"We are pleased to be part of one of the efforts being made by Daly City and San Francisco to restore and preserve Lake Merced," said Olympic Club President Rich Guggenhime. Lake Merced Golf Club President Irving Chang said, "We are pleased to be a participant in the community effort to improve Lake Merced and its environment."

The first step of the three-part program is to design methods to channel storm water into Lake Merced from its historic southern watershed in Daly City. This effort will redirect storm flows toward the lake. This SFPUC pilot program will begin immediately.

Next, work will begin on a new water recycling plant in Daly City to provide an alternative water supply for golf course irrigation. The water will be filtered and disinfected, making it safe for landscape uses. As part of the agreement, the golf courses have agreed to pay 50 cents per unit for the recycled water, which represents a substantial increase over their current cost of 21 cents per unit for groundwater.

The third step will be the implementation of an already-adopted pilot program that makes surplus SFPUC water supplies available to Daly City in wet years, allowing them to limit ground water pumping and increasing storage in the aquifer. This will allow increased use of groundwater during periods of water shortages, in essence creating a supplemental water supply to the Hetch Hetchy system's capacity and to Daly City.

"Lake Merced is a wonderful resource for San Franciscans, and the SFPUC is committed to restoring the lake's health so future generations can enjoy its beauty and fish in its waters," said SFPUC General Manager Pat Martel.

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