“The Central Valley water supply is very important to the farmers – we are striving to work around their schedule for irrigation so we are not disruptive to their needs.”

“In the Central Valley we have a lot of room to work, which is great, and it’s an area where it’s been easy to get labor and materials to the sites,” said Nelson. “Coordinating the construction work has been the biggest challenge. A majority of property we cross is farmland and we are also adjacent to an active quarry, a golf course, and we cross over major water transmission facilities. We have a little bit of everything on this project.”

This time of year is a key time for the project, because water shutdowns are only conducted in winter when there is least demand. The next major milestone will be the Foothill Tunnel shutdown on Dec. 5. Current construction needs to be completed and tested prior to that date in order to conduct the shutdown or the project could fall behind schedule.

“We are working overtime to get this all started up and tested before the shutdown,” said Stephen. “It’s challenging because it is a working system so you have to squeeze everything into a very tight timeframe.”

Complicating the project further is the fact that this is just one of several water projects SFPUC is undertaking this year.

“This is our busiest year ever,” said Nelson. “We are in middle of major bond programs here and we have been pushing to expedite all the programs. System reliability depends on these projects, so it’s critical to get them completed.”

Work on the entire SJPS is expected to be completed in the spring of 2013.