LOMPICO — Old, leaking, redwood tanks that used to supply drinking water to the Lompico community have been transformed, just in time for peak fire season.
Six new galvanized steel tanks are now spread throughout the canyon and offer the community more than double the water storage it had previously, as well as more dependable supply sources. The project’s completion largely marks an up-and-running modernized water system for the community.
“The big thing was reliability in the canyon,” said Rick Rogers, director of operations at San Lorenzo Valley Water District. “The Lompico canyon is pretty self sufficient now.”
On a sweltering Wednesday afternoon, bolted galvanized steel tanks rise up to meet the redwoods, in the picturesque and one-of-a-kind Santa Cruz Sandhill habitat.
Those largest two tanks provide the bulk of drinking water to roughly 500 households spread out across the Lompico canyon.
Previously, the redwood tanks only held a day to two day’s water supply, Rogers said. Each of the updated steel tanks hold anywhere from a week of peak-demand storage, to three weeks.
They connect through a gravity-fed system of pipes, that span across the highest stretches of the canyon’s east and west sides.
“It was an old redwood tank leaking like a sieve … it could hardly hold 50% of the water volume because the boards were so rotten, it had a leaky roof and the foundation was kind of lopsided,” Rogers said, reflecting on the overhauled tanks.
As a result of the project the amount of drinking water available to Lompico residents increased from 334,000 gallons to 464,000 gallons.
That’s important not only for residential needs, but also for firefighters pulling water from hydrants.
“What we have done here has improved water storage for fire tremendously,” Rogers said.
While before supply was limited to Lompico Creek and local wells, now the community has access to the SLVWD’s sources throughout the watershed.
“You see Lompico Creek, there’s not much water in it,” Rogers said. “Lompico was almost running out of water even on rationing and strong, strict water conservation.”
To Rogers, the tanks stand as a symbol of the community action and funds put up by the mountain residents, to obtain more reliable water resources in the canyon, through joining the San Lorenzo Valley Water District.
In 2016, the community…
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