By Kelly Ryan

FOLSOM (CBS 13) – Emergency work has begun building a barge that would supply the city of Folsom with drinking water. If water levels drop, the current system would not function.

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California’s prolonged drought is affecting Folsom Lake, and could soon affect the drinking-water supply for residents.

Contractors have now started welding pipes as they begin to create a $3.5 million temporary barge and pumping system. The Bureau of Reclamation says it will keep water flowing.

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“There are five main pipes that come over the dam, they are 18 inch pipes. They would feed downstream to a 36-inch pipe that connects to the city of Folsom’s water supply, “ said Luis Moore a spokesperson with the Bureau of Reclamation.

Officials say if water levels dip below an intake valve currently used to get water to Folsom, this system will not work.

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The barge will float near the dam in the deeper part of the reservoir so as the water drops, it stay on top. Officials say they’ve been letting less water out and storing more, but they call the project an insurance policy.