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Domestic Water (SFPUC)

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Stanford’s domestic water system provides potable water for all university buildings and associated fire protection systems.

The domestic water originates from the Tuolumne River watershed in what is now known as Yosemite National Park and is conveyed to the Bay Area by the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System (SFPUC).  The Tuolumne River watershed is the homeland of Indigenous peoples, especially speakers of Sierra Miwok and Northern Paiute and their descendants.  These people have cared for and revered this land since time immemorial.  We invite you to seek deeper knowledge about the water source to understand its temporal, contextual, and geographic journey.

Once delivered to Stanford, domestic water is stored in reservoirs and distributed through an extensive pipe network extending through three different pressure zones. Potable water from SFPUC is backed up by the university’s wells, which produce potable water and would be utilized in the event of disruption in the SFPUC supply.

Map of Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System pipelines and facilities
Map of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System. View larger map

Stanford University’s Drinking Water Sources

Water supplied to Stanford by the SFPUC comes from Hetch Hetchy Watershed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and local watersheds in Alameda and San Mateo Counties.

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which is the largest reservoir in the SFPUC system, is located in Yosemite National Park on the Tuolumne River. High-quality Hetch Hetchy water meets all federal and state criteria for watershed protection, disinfection treatment, bacteriological quality, and operational standards. As a result, the US Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Public Health granted the Hetch Hetchy water source a filtration exemption. This exemption is contingent upon the Hetch Hetchy water quality continuing to meet all filtration avoidance criteria. The water delivered from the SFPUC to Stanford is both chloraminated and fluoridated.

The Alameda watershed spans more than 35,000 acres in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties. Surface water from rainfall and runoff is collected in the Calaveras and San Antonio Reservoirs, and prior to distribution water from the watershed is treated at the Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant (SVWTP).

Surface water from rainfall and runoff captured in the 23,000-acre Peninsula Watershed, which is located in San Mateo County, is stored in four reservoirs: Crystal Springs (Lower and Upper), San Andreas, Pilarcitos and Stone Dam. This water source is treated at the Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant prior to delivery to customers.