Alameda Creek: Nearly 50 Million Gallons of Water Lost After Dam Vandalized, Officials Say

Fremont police say vandals attacked an inflatable dam on Alameda Creek that resulted in the loss of nearly 50 million gallons of water.

Police believe that those responsible entered a restricted area sometime on Thursday morning and intentionally damaged the dam.

authorities at the site

authorities at the site

“The dam, which is instrumental to the Alameda County Water District’s water supply operations, suffered irreversible damage,” police said.

According to police, more than 150 acre-feet of water – or 49 million gallons – washed past the destroyed dam and into the San Francisco Bay. The water was to have been percolated into the Niles Cone Groundwater Basin for use by residents and businesses in Fremont, Newark, and Union City as a critical water supply.

Because of its age, the district was already working to replace the dam, officials said. It was built in 1971 and is one of two dams ACWD controls.

“This amount of water is enough to supply the needs of approximately 500 homes for one year,” police said.

District staff was able to quickly open upstream diversions, allowing water which would have been impounded behind the dam to flow into nearby groundwater recharge facilities, thus eliminating further water loss.

“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.”

The District does not believe it will have a long-term impact on its water supply operations.

Water officials said that while the amount of water could have supplied 500 homes for a year, the loss would not likely have a “long-term impact on its water supply operations,” according to local news sources.

The vandalized dam is one of a pair ACWD maintains on Alameda Creek. The dams are large, heavy-duty devices, which can be inflated to impound needed water or deflated to allow water to flow through the creek in storm conditions.

Regulators in an attempt to combat the continuing drought conditions approved a plan on Friday by some of the state’s most senior water rights holders — growers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — to voluntarily cut water use by 25 percent in exchange for assurances that they would not face further curtailments during the growing season.

Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to contact Detective A. Ceniceros at or (510) 790-6900.

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Maddy Taylor

Journalist and fact checker at The Pluto Daily. University of Miami Ohio alumni class of '09!