(This article was written per-California record rainfalls.) Water reductions at one of California's major reservoirs has resulted in consumers experiencing foul-tasting water.
According to a statement by Catherine Alvert, Utilities spokesperson for the City of Palo Alto, which was recently published in Palo Alto Online: "Palo Alto and other local cities' residents who have been complaining about nasty-tasting water coming from their taps can blame it on water reductions from the Hetch Hetchy supply and blending from other sources." The Hetch Hetchy resevoir supplies drinking water to consumers in San Francisco Bay and surrounding areas, including residents of Palo Alto.
According to Evert, the volume of water supplying the Hetch Hetchy dam has been reduced to 105 million gallons per day from its previous supply of 145 million gallons per day, and is being sourced from water held in surface reservoirs. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission didn't warn residents that this may affect the taste or smell of their water supply, but have since received several complaints in this regard, with many consumers questioning what was the situation with their water.
According to James Keene, a City Manager for Palo Alto, using blended water sourced from local surface water supplies resulted in sediment being stirred up within a water pipeline, which has resulted in the unpleasant musty taste and smell of the water, which could potentially last for a few days while the water moves through the distribution network from the reservoirs and storage tanks to consumers in Palo Alto.
Some residents in San Francisco also reported foul tasting water earlier this month according to a report in San Francisco News.
While officials assured consumers that the strange taste and odor was not indicative of inferior water quality, they did issue a health advisory warning for highly sensitive consumers:
"Some highly sensitive customers, such as those with compromised immune systems, can be affected by minor water-quality fluctuations, and they should consult with their physician to determine in general if they should be taking precautionary measures such as adding filtration devices, the city utilities department noted on its website."
A good quality drinking water filter, such as the Berkey range of filters fitted with carbon or ceramic filter cartridges will be able to filter out the sediment that is causing the problem. Carbon filters are very effective at removing sediment as well as taste and odors that affect water aesthetics and make it unpleasant to drink.
With the current drought and water shortage situation (which has improved significantly very recently), these kinds of issues may become more common. Investing in a water filter will alleviate any such issues that may arise from water reductions and blending of surface water sources. California residents can purchase either the Berkey Light or the Travel Berkey from the Berkey range of water filters for direct delivery to their door. Both of these water filters will effectively remove sediment as well as musty taste and odor from water, leaving consumers with pleasant tasting and smelling drinking water that is more appealing to consume. They will also remove a host of other contaminants commonly found in drinking water, which pose a health risk to humans.