May 4, 1916: Sacramento Water Supply

May 4, 1916: Municipal Journal article. Report on Sacramento’s Possible Water Supply. “Sacramento, Cal.-In one of the most comprehensive reports ever made on a water supply for Sacramento, Professor Charles Gilman Hyde and G. H. Wilhelm, engineering experts, have shown that the Sacramento River is the best source of supply for the city. Professor Hyde and engineer Wilhelm were employed several months ago at a cost of $50 for each day they worked. Their report consists of several hundred pages of data, maps, etc. Three sources of supply are treated very thoroughly-mountain, wells and river. Each source of supply is treated independently of the other. The location of the supply distance, route, dams, pipe lines, quantity and quality of supply and cost thereof, are given in each of the three cases.

The mountain supply is shown to be available for a cost of approximately $10,000,000. A well supply may be obtained at a cost of $1,315,000, and the river supply, filtered and purified, will cost $1,288,000. Of the three sources of supply all argument, data and facts pertaining thereto are in favor of the filtration of Sacramento river water. The mountain source, while affording an unlimited supply and carrying with it possibilities for electrical generation, entails an expense which is regarded by city officials as impossible for this city to attempt. The well supply, while moderate in cost compared to that of a mountain supply, the experts show, would only be capable of furnishing 30,000,000 gallons per day, which is held to be too small a supply in view of the probable steady increase in population.

Rapid sand filtration and disinfection are recommended as the best methods for treatment. The capacity of the water works, according to the recommendations, would vary from a maximum of 200 million gallons per day to thirty million gallons per day, and their safe capacity would be between 40 and 50 million gallons per day.”

Reference: “Report on Sacramento’s Possible Water Supply.” 1916. Municipal Journal article 40:18(May 4, 1916): 621-2.

Commentary: And that is exactly what the City of Sacramento did. Later, they added another source and treatment plant on the American River. In 1993, one of the first projects for my firm, McGuire Environmental Consultants, Inc. was to assess the relative health risks of the City of Sacramento using their two sources of supply—the Sacramento and American Rivers.

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