An inflatable rubber dam was allegedly vandalized in Fremont, California, releasing nearly 50 million gallons of water into the San Francisco Bay.
Police believe vandals went to Alameda Creek on Thursday morning and caused damage to the dam, which is made of about an inch-thick rubber material. The dam was discovered partially submerged so the cause of how it deflated is difficult to uncover, according to Geneva Bosques, a spokesperson for the Fremont Police Department.
The area the suspected vandals entered was restricted.
“The dam, which is instrumental to the Alameda County Water District’s water supply operations, suffered irreversible damage,” police said.
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Nearly 50 million gallons of water was released from the dam, reports KRON 4.
The loss of water is a serious concern for Northern California as the state is experiencing a terrible four-year drought. The water in the dam was a critical water supply meant to be used for residents and businesses in Fremont, Newark and Union City.
“This amount of water is enough to supply the needs of approximately 500 homes for one year,” police said.
Further water loss was interrupted as district staff opened upstream diversions so water that would normally remain behind the dam flowed into nearby groundwater recharge facilities.
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“This is a very significant loss of water under any circumstances, and more so in the drought conditions we are experiencing,” said ACWD General Manager Robert Shaver. “It is an utterly senseless, destructive, and wasteful thing to do.”
There are currently no leads as to who or what caused the dam to deflate, Bosques said.
“We are investigating it as being intentional,” Bosques said. “We are putting a lot of police resources behind the investigation.”
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