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Hetch Hetchy Pipeline Break Cuts Supply

A rupture in a pipeline bringing water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir sent a geyser shooting 100 feet in the air near Modesto and cut water deliveries in half.

The San Francisco-owned system brings water 167 miles from Yosemite National Park to two and a half million customers in San Francisco and three other Bay Area counties.

Pat Martel is head of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. She says the damage doesn´t mean people have to curtail water use now. But she warned that conservation might be needed if the system isn´t fixed quickly.

By the time the pipe was patched, more than 70 million gallons had been lost. The pipe was laid way back in the 1960s. It´s one of three major lines carrying water from the Sierra Nevada to taps all over the Bay Area. The cause of the damage Sunday has yet to be determined.

There´s only about 70 million gallons a day available now because a gate that was closed to repair the pipe is now stuck. That compares with the 240 million gallons used during a normal day by the PUC´s customers.