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Tuolumne board says no to SF water diversion plan

A San Francisco plan to divert more water from the Tuolumne River -- as much as 25 million gallons a day more by 2030 -- was panned by Tuolumne County supervisors.

The supervisors, in a resolution adopted Tuesday, urged the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to pursue alternatives that don't require taking more water from the fragile river.

It was approved on a 4-1 vote. Supervisor Liz Bass was the lone dissenter.

"The resolution expresses Tuolumne County's serious concerns over SFPUC's proposal to divert additional water," Supervisor Teri Murrison said in a statement released Wednesday.

Sasha Farkas of the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau also voiced concerns about the plan.

"Tuolumne County's agriculture is in need of water," Farkas said. "Any more water taken out of our rivers will push our agriculture further away from sustainability."

Diverting more water from the Tuolumne -- it already takes about 225 million gallons a day -- is a key part of the SFPUC's $4.3 billion plan to refurbish and rebuild its Hetch Hetchy water conveyance system.

The SFPUC plan is nearing the end of a state-mandated environmental review period. The public comment period closes at 5 p.m. Monday.

A copy of San Francisco's program environmental impact report on the Hetch Hetchy water project is available at the Stanislaus County Library main branch, 1500 I St., Modesto. The report also can be viewed and downloaded at www.sfgov.org/site/planning/mea or at http://PEIR.sfwater.org.

Bee staff writer Michael G. Mooney can be reached at mmooney@modbee.com or 578-2384.

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