Fremont (KRON) -- 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.
"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.
With California enduring a crippling four-year drought and no signs of immediate relief, the water in the Alameda Creek 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.RELATED COVERAGE: EL NINO COULD SAVE CALIFORNIA FROM HISTORIC DROUGHT
"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.RELATED COVERAGE: KRON4'S DROUGHT COVERAGE
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.
Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to contact Detective A. Ceniceros at Aceniceros@fremont.gov or (510) 790-6900.