EL SOBRANTE, Calif. (KGO) -- The East Bay Municipal Utility District has begun receiving emergency water supplies from the Sacramento River. And while the extra water heading to the San Pablo Reservoir is certainly welcome, it's also expensive.
Looks will be deceiving this summer. In a couple of months, the San Pablo Reservoir will be brimming with water.
The same will happen at another reservoir in the EBMUD's system. But it's water that will come at a high price.
It looks great, but all the fresh water flowing down Orinda's San Pablo Creek is really just a sign of how deep the drought has become.
"Bringing in this water is a lot more extensive than the water we bring in normally," said EBMUD spokesperson Abby Figueroa
It's an emergency supply from the Sacramento River, 32,000 acre feet purchased by EBMUD from the federal system. It's a stopgap to keep the district afloat through what's expected to be a very difficult summer.
"That water costs more to pump," Figueroa said. "There's more power and electricity cost. It also costs a bit more to treat because it has a different water chemistry than what we're used to from the Mokelumne River."
This is only the second time EBMUD has purchased federal water through its newly constructed freeport pumping station.
Once it arrives in the Bay Area, the Sacramento River water must go through a seven-step treatment process at EBMUD's Sobrante filter plant.
"Our operations staff works 24/7 monitoring the process," said Water Treatment Superintendent Roberto Cortez. "Making adjustments to ensure we have high quality water going out to our customers."
The water is tested for various factors throughout the process, to make sure it tastes and smells similar to EBMUD's traditional supply, which comes from the Mokelumne River.
Even with all this, EBMUD still plans to go on the open market to purchase more water in the coming weeks.
For full coverage on the drought, click here.