San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

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San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
SFPUC
Agency overview
Jurisdiction City and County of San Francisco
Headquarters 525 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102
Employees ~2,800
Annual budget $816.5m USD (2011-12)
Agency executives Harlan Kelly, General Manager
Michael Carlin, Deputy General Manager
Website sfwater.org

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is a public agency of the City and County of San Francisco that provides water, wastewater, and electric power services to the City and an additional 1.6 million customers within three San Francisco Bay Area counties.[1] Since its creation in February 2005, the SFPUC Power Enterprise Division has supplied power to many City facilities including Muni, San Francisco International Airport as well as the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation districts.The SFPUC is also the water, electricity and wastewater utility for occupants of Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island.

The SFPUC manages a complex water supply system consisting of reservoirs, tunnels, pipelines and treatment facilities and is the third largest municipal utility agency in California. The SFPUC protects its watershed properties with security utility trucks and fire apparatus painted white over green. The SFPUC provides fresh water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir to 2.4 million customers for residential, commercial and industrial uses. Near one-third of its delivered water is sent to customers within San Francisco, while the remaining two-thirds is sent to Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. Aside from delivering water, the agency is also responsible for treating wastewater before discharging it into the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.[2]

Historical Origins[edit]

1922 map showing the pipelines of the SVWC and the Sunol Water Temple

From the mid-19th Century, much of the Alameda County watershed was owned by the Spring Valley Water Company (SVWC), a private enterprise which held a monopoly on water service to San Francisco.[3][4]

In 1906, William Bowers Bourn II, a major stockholder in the SVWC, and owner of the giant Empire Mine, hired Willis Polk to design a "water temple" atop the spot where three subterranean water mains converge, from the Arroyo de la Laguna and Alameda Creeks, the Sunol infiltration galleries, and a 30-inch pipeline from the artesian well field of Pleasanton.[5][6]

Municipal efforts to buy out the SVWC had been a source of constant controversy from as early as 1873, when the first attempt to purchase it was turned down by San Francisco voters because the price was too high.[7] Other sources claim that as one born into wealth and classically educated, Bourn was partially motivated by a sense of civic responsibility.[8]

Prior to construction of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct, half of San Francisco's water supply, approximately 6 million gallons per day passed through the Sunol temple.[9] The SVWC, including the temple, was purchased by the city of San Francisco in 1930 for US$40 million.[5][7]

Structure & Leadership[edit]

The SFPUC is headed by a board consisting of five Commissioners, who are nominated by the Mayor of San Francisco and confirmed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Each of the five Commissioners is chosen according to criteria set forth in the San Francisco City Charter:

Seat 1 on the Commission shall be a member with experience in environmental policy and an understanding of environmental justice issues. Seat 2 shall be a member with experience in ratepayer or consumer advocacy. Seat 3 shall be a member with experience in project finance. Seat 4 shall be a member with expertise in water systems, power systems, or public utility management, and Seat 5 shall be an at-large member.[10]

The Commission meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Their responsibility is to provide operational oversight in areas such as rates and charges for services, approval of contracts, and organizational policy.

The board appoints a General Manager as the chief executive of the SFPUC, with each division headed by an Assistant General Manager (AGM). The six divisions are: Business Services, External Affairs, Infrastructure Division, Power Enterprise, Water Enterprise, and Wastewater Enterprise.[11]

Environmental Sustainability[edit]

Nowadays, the thematic of “sustainability" is acquiring growing importance all over the world, especially the possibility to manage and periodically regulate human consumption of resources such as water and electricity. The city of San Francisco is famous for the strong commitment demonstrated regarding environmental protection; in fact is pursuing the ambitious goal to become a “Zero emission city” by 2030. In this prospective, SFPUC is implementing innovative solutions focusing on two main fields: water and power.

Water: SFPUC is applying a “Water System Improvement Program” (WSIP) to manage a wide range of projects focusing on the optimization of pipelines, pump stations and water tanks usage.

Power: SFPUC is generating and providing different typologies of clean energy (hydroelectric, solar and biogas) for municipal services and citizens needs. Moreover, in collaboration with Paradox Engineering is seeking to exploit street light pole developing an integrated infrastructure with the specific scope of monitor the usage of urban services, optimize the power consumption and consequently reduce waste. [12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ About SFPUC, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
  2. ^ Water, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
  3. ^ Chris Metinko (2 January 2006). "City owns a hearty connection to beer". The Contra Costa Times. 
  4. ^ Matt Smith (22 September 2004). "Big Dam Mess". SF Weekly. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  5. ^ a b Hanson, Warren D. (1994). San Francisco Water and Power: A History of the Municipal Water Department and Hetch Hetchy System (3rd edition ed.). San Francisco, CA: City and County of San Francisco. OCLC 31224846. 
  6. ^ Hanson, Warren D. (2005). San Francisco Water and Power: A History of the Municipal Water Department and Hetch Hetchy System (6th edition ed.). San Francisco, CA: City and County of San Francisco. OCLC 60658054. 
  7. ^ a b Communications and Public Outreach (2002). "History of the SFPUC". SF Public Utilities Commission. Archived from the original on 2005-02-04. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  8. ^ Brechin, Gray A. (1999). "Water Mains and Bloodlines". Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 72–73. ISBN 0-520-21568-0. 
  9. ^ Teresa Brown (29 November 2002). "Welcome to Sunol". Pleasanton Weekly. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  10. ^ "San Francisco Municipal Code - 1996 Charter". San Francisco Municipal Code - 1996 Charter. American Legal Publishing Company. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "SFPUC Executive Management". San Francisco PUC. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Street-lighting in San Francisco turn smart with Paradox engineering, Startupticker.ch. Retrieved on september 2013. 

External links[edit]