The Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) was created on May 27, 2003 to represent the interests of 24 cities and water districts, and two private utilities, in Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties that purchase water on a wholesale basis from the San Francisco regional water system.
BAWSCA was enabled by AB 2058 (Authors: Assembly members Louis Papan, John Dutra and Joe Simitian). The Legislature’s overwhelming support for the bill demonstrated the state’s recognition of the need for local government to protect the health, safety and economic well being of 1.7 million people, businesses and community organizations in the three counties.
BAWSCA is the only entity having the authority to directly represent the needs of the cities, water districts and private utilities (wholesale customers) that depend on the regional water system. BAWSCA provides the ability for the customers of the regional system to work with San Francisco on an equal basis to ensure the water system gets fixed, and to collectively and efficiently meet local responsibilities.
BAWSCA’s goals are to ensure:
- a reliable water supply
- high-quality water
- a fair price
BAWSCA has the authority to coordinate water conservation, supply and recycling activities for its agencies; acquire water and make it available to other agencies on a wholesale basis; finance projects, including improvements to the regional water system; and build facilities jointly with other local public agencies or on its own to carry out the agency’s purposes.
BAWSCA is governed by a 26-member Board of Directors comprised of respected community leaders representing the 24 cities and water districts that are member agencies of BAWSCA, and two private utilities that also have appointees to the board, Stanford University and California Water Service Company.
BAWSCA’s member agencies jointly face four significant challenges over the next 10 to 20 years:
- Ensuring the San Francisco regional water system is rebuilt to withstand seismic and other hazards;
- Make sure the agencies and their customers are treated fairly in the allocation of costs for these capital improvements;
- Promote an aggressive water efficiency program throughout the region to extend existing supplies;
- Negotiate a new water agreement with San Francisco to provide a reliable supply of high quality water at a fair price.
BAWSCA is aggressively monitoring the progress of the San Francisco Public Utility Commission’s $4.3 billion Capital Improvement Program, in particular regional projects to enhance seismic safety. A description of the facilities of the regional water system and a virtual tour of the Hetch Hetchy Watershed is found in The Hetch Hetchy System. To learn about the history of water issues in the Bay Area, see history and milestones.