San Francisco school cisterns full thanks to recent storms

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Recent storms have filled up cisterns at San Francisco schools district-wide with over 20, 000 gallons of rainwater. (KGO-TV)

Water officials in the Central Valley aren't the only ones in a rush to release water. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been doing it for the past few weeks to keep its five reservoirs from overflowing.

Oddly enough, even the San Francisco School District has never dealt with this much rainwater.
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The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission began releasing water from its five reservoirs several weeks ago, which is something it hasn't done since the El Nino event of 1997.

The release started at the Crystal Springs Reservoir in order to maintain a storm buffer and keep it from spilling. "Usually there is a valve down below the dam that you can release from to hold the reservoir level down below the spillway and so we've used those valves off and on for the last several weeks," said Chris Nelson, a water supply and treatment manager.

The excess water from the lower Crystal Springs is carefully released into the San Mateo Creek.

On a much smaller scale one can see the impact of the recent downfalls through the cisterns found at 28 schools in San Francisco.

San Francisco public schools began installing cisterns back in 2007 as a way to conserve water and maintain their gardens. Schools collect rain from their roofs. "When I started this summer it was right around here, the plastic would give and right before Christmas break it moved a little and when I got back from the Christmas break it was all the way completely full and it's actually been leaking out of the sides too," educator A.J. Cucalon said.

Cucalon runs the garden program at Jefferson Elementary and he's had to put out extra buckets for the overflow.

District wide, the cisterns are holding more than 20,000 gallons of rainwater, this one being of the largest. "That thing holds up to 3,000 gallons so we use about 10 every day or every other day, so we have a lot of water for easily the next school year," Cucalon said.

That will guarantee a better outcome for their living laboratory.

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weatherfloodingrainwindstormsevere weatherstorm damagewinter stormsinkholeroad repairhighwayspotholesschoolSan Francisco
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