Representatives from the district provided a presentation to community members explaining the proposed project to run a water main from the City of Oakley into the Knightsen Community well in order to draw up to one million gallons of water per day from the Knightsen Aquifer. Representatives from Diablo Water explained the reasoning for the need and the benefits to Knightsen, claiming that a "live line" to Knightsen would allow service to continue when there is a power outage. Community members suggested placing a standby generator at the well.
Another benefit presented was added water flow for fire prevention. Currently the community well produces 300 gallons per minute. According to ECCPD Chief Weisgerber, the normal standard for fire hydrants vary based on residential or commercial areas. However, a minimum standard would be 500 gallons per minute. The water district wants to increase the draw from the aquifer to 700 gallons per minute.
While the project is still in its early stages, the concept does not sit well with residents. Locally, only 12 people are connected out of over 1,200 residents on private wells. Other reasons for pumping water from Knightsen arose when district representatives explained the difference between surface water and ground water. While surface water is abundant, its quality is poor; it's mixed with ground water and treated before it returns to the customer. The current surface water supply for Oakley is adequate for development. However, the cost to purchase added water from the Contra Costa Water District is expensive. An East County Irrigation District Board member also attending the meeting stated that water was available from his district to sell to Diablo if it wants. Diablo representatives stated that by taking the water from Knightsen, the cost to provide for its customers would be reduced.
Local residents asked why Knightsen needs to give up its natural resources to provide for Oakley growth. While members of the public suggested drilling wells in the Oakley area for Oakley development, representatives from Diablo explained that there was not a sufficient aquifer in Oakley to meet their demand. However, Knightsen has good source and quality ground water. That information raised more concern from Knightsen residents, who wondered what would happen to their own wells should this much demand be placed on the local Knightsen Water Aquifer.
Representatives from Diablo stated that when testing the Glenn Park Well in Oakley and monitoring Well #14 in Brentwood just to the south, results showed the aquifer dropped five feet at times. One Knightsen resident commented that when a void such as that is created in the aquifer, it can allow several things to happen. One result can be the seepage from the above aquifer that could dry up or affect water quality on shallow wells - 99 percent of Knightsen residents have shallow wells. Another result could be the sinking of land in that area, for which the representatives cited an example in the Sacramento area.
Several residents vowed to stop the pumping from the Knightsen aquifer even if it meant legal action. Other concerns from KTAC brought out the fact that Knightsen is a slow-growth community. A larger well and live line would promote growth in an area protected by the Urban Limit Line. The biggest concern was for the future of the Knightsen community's water supply. Drawing water from Knightsen for development in another area is like taking away the community's future water supply when Knightsen does evolve. It would be devastating for our grandchildren to not have a clean water supply in Knightsen, claimed Charlotte Pastor.