RECYCLED WATER PROJECT FOR WATER STABILITY, PART 4

Recycled Water Project for Water Stability: Takes Shape, Part 4

By Brian German, Associate Editor and Broadcaster

As part of our ongoing coverage on the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (NVRRWP), we spoke with Anthea Hansen, general Manager of the Del Puerto Water District. Over the next few months the project will start to take shape following the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation signing the Record of Decision last month, the high level of cooperation taking place among all the different entities, and positive public response.

Del Puerto Water District dpwdHansen commented, “I can’t speak enough about our good experience thus far. The cities, partners and consultants on the project have come together to really advance this concept—which was all it was seven or eight years ago —into something that will become a reality.

When demands are low in the Del Puerto water district, specifically in the winter months, water deliveries can flow to storage facilities or the San Luis Reservoir for later usage when demand is high. While many areas have already been using recycled water for agricultural needs, the progress by the North Valley program has inspired some communities to improve their own water policies.

Recycled water has long been used in agriculture in other areas of the state, most notably the Salinas Valley and in the south, maybe a little bit up in the north in the winegrape country. The Del Puerto Water District currently relies on water delivered through the Central Valley Project, which had zero deliveries for the previous two years, and are only providing 5% this year. This new program has the potential to produce more than 30,000 acre-feet of water per year as soon as 2018.

NVRRWP map recycled water
NVRRWP map (Source: www.nvr-recycledwater.org/description.asp)

Among an estimated 100 recycled water projects in various stages of development throughout the state, Hansen stated, “For the Central Valley, I think this is definitely a big first. We received about 14 public comments on the joint environmental document. Of those 14, three or four were letters of support, and we received some broad support from the environmental community. 

A project of this magnitude to deliver needed water stability could also be accomplished in other dedicated communities, according to Hansen. “We believe this project to be a model for other municipal and agricultural agencies in ways to regionally solve issues together, and hopefully, it will be a model for the nation.”

Anthea_Hansen
Anthea Hansen, general Manager of the Del Puerto Water District

“Hopefully,” said Hansen, “people are looking at this as a good example of ways to think outside the box and use available technology to solve problems locally and regionally, which is what we have been forced to do here on the Westside.

“With all the complexities of California’s plumbing,” explained Hansen, “it would be impossible for a small district like Del Puerto to really affect any of the big picture changes, but we certainly do have the ability to affect how we act locally and regionally. I also think the Central Valley has not historically been a magnet for a lot of assistance, programs or changes that work to our benefit, so we have to devise these for ourselves or we’ll be out be of business. I’m very thankful that the two cities—Modesto and Turlockon the east side of the river in our county, were willing to work with us, and I think we have a good partnership going forward.”


AAEES logo Leadership and Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science

 

The North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (Phase 3) won the 2015 Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science™ Competition – Honor Award – Planning from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists.

Recycled Water Project for Water Stability: Collaborative Funding, Part 3

Anthea Hansen on Collaborative Funding

By Brian German, Associate Editor

Part 3 of our ongoing coverage of the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program with Anthea Hansen, general manager of the Del Puerto Water District, described how the district was able to secure funding for a project of this magnitude.

“In our partnership with the cities of Modesto and Turlock and what I’ll call ancillary partners in Stanislaus County and the City of Ceres, we have leaned heavily on our partners for advanced funding,” Hansen said. Turlock and Modesto will be providing the Del Puerto Water District with treated, recycled water transported by direct pipeline to the Delta-Mendota canal for temporary storage. From there, the water will be distributed to agricultural customers within the Del Puerto service area.

Acknowledging the shared financial burden of getting the project off the ground, Hansen shared, “We have very solid agreements in place and the cities have assisted the district by fronting a great portion of the effort thus far—on the condition that once the project comes to fruition, they will recoup all of their input costs, plus a guaranteed revenue stream on the water supply over the life of the partnership. So it’s worked very well,” she said.

NVRRWP map recycled water
NVRRWP map (Source: www.nvr-recycledwater.org/description.asp)

Hansen also noted her appreciation for the collaboration among the people in her area and for their understanding that comprise is a much more effective way to achieve water goals, particularly given that many sectors of the community are competing for limited water supplies. “Del Puerto ratepayers have certified they are willing to pay the entire cost of the project,” Hansen said, “including all costs incurred thus far. So, agriculture will fund the delivery system and the water supply,” adding again that upfront funding by cities at the beginning of the project aided the situation.

Forging strong community partnerships to achieve a more stability water supply is key, according to Hansen, “because we haven’t been in a position to put up the risk capital and the money in advance of water deliveries, so it’s been a truly remarkable public-private partnership that we’ve developed,” she said.

 

Recycled Water Project for Water Stability, Part 2

North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program Projected Completion

By Brian German, Associate Editor

In our continued coverage of the monumental North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (NVRRWP), Anthea Hansen, general manager of the Del Puerto Water District, talked about the projected completion for the project.

Anthea Hansen, general manager, Del Puerto Water District
Anthea Hansen, general manager, Del Puerto Water District

“We estimate the pipeline will be completed by December 2017—less than two years,” Hansen stated. “The first year’s combined quantities, if both cities (Turlock and Modesto) are online at the start date, will be somewhere between 25K and 30K acre-feet per year,” Hansen calculated.

NVRRWP will convey recycled water from Turlock and Modesto, currently being discharged into the San Joaquin River, instead to the Delta-Mendota Canal via pipeline for storage purposes and later use. “The sense that we all have here,” said Hansen, “is that this transaction and this accomplishment will change the future of the Del Puerto Water District for the better. It will give us some stability in our base [water] supply that we know will come year in and year out.”

After many years of working with various agencies and collaborating with  multiple cities, the project has passed all of its major hurdles and is set to break ground within the next few months. Using recycled water from treatment plants will reduce reliance on unsustainable groundwater supplies and also lower the amount of water pumped from the Delta.

NVRRWP map recycled water
NVRRWP map (Source: NVRRWP map)

“People use water in the cities every day, 365 days a year,” explained Hansen. “The reliability of the supply is so important to us because, for such a long time, we have not had reliability in our water supply,” Hansen noted.

“We have 40-year agreements in place with both cities,” she continued. “As a result of the program, even in the first years, each irrigable acre in the district will receive somewhere between one half to three-quarters of an acre-foot of guaranteed water supply, year in and year out.”

Hansen added the project will sustain a growing population. “Over time,” she remarked, “as the cites grow and the populations expand, the quantities of water are projected to grow over the build-out period for the project.”

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See Also: Recycled Water Project for Water Stability, Part 1, “North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program: A New Water Source for Valley Farmers,” June 14, 2015.

Additional Benefits of the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program

Recycled Water Project for Water Stability, Part 1

North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program: A New Water Source for Valley Farmers

Part One of a Five-Part Series

By Brian German, Associate Editor

Anthea Hansen, general manager of the Patterson, Calif.-based Del Puerto Water District, described the exciting work to bring more water stability in the form of recycled water to multiple Central Valley cities—in our five-part series on the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (NVRRWP)

“After six and a half years of effort,” Hansen said, “we have fully completed all of our environmental documentation, and most of the permitting is in hand.” Recently, the partners have interviewed and selected the preferred firm to construct the Modesto component of the project, so that process is underway.”

cropped-cropped-SLDMWA200x200Logo101714NVRRWP is a collaborative partnership that includes the cities of Modesto, Turlock and Ceres along with the Del Puerto Water District and Stanislaus County to solve the region’s water supply and reliability problemsThe program will provide a new source of water for agricultural customers in the Del Puerto Water District (DPWD), whose supplies have been severely impacted by drought and by environmental restrictions on pumping water from the Delta. Hansen noted the collaboration was the largest obstacle they were able to overcome.

“One of the biggest things that happened recently, a day we were all looking forward to,” noted Hansen, “is when the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) executed the record of decision for our project, a document that supports not only the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation but also the signing of a long-term contract. It will allow us to convey and store the recycled water in federal facilities,” she said, “and it will also support the sharing of a portion of the water with the wildlife refugees south of the Delta. That was a big milestone for our project.”

The cities of Turlock and Modesto will provide treated, recycled water to the Del Puerto Water District through a direct pipeline into the Delta-Mendota Canal. The district will then distribute that water to the agricultural customers within its service area.

After so many years already invested in the project, Hansen is excited the plan is coming together. “We worked lockstep with Reclamation for over three years,” Hansen said, “and we did some very extensive and thorough analysis. We had a great team and a good working relationship, and it looks like we are nearing the end of assembling all of the different pieces of this very complicated puzzle.”

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Resources:

Del Puerto Water District

North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program Map

Recycled Water Uses Allowed in California 

The Citizen’s Guide to the National Environmental Policy Act

San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority Member Agencies Map

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See also, “Recycled Wastewater Could Help Growers in Del Puerto Water District, June 9, 2015.

Drought Lessons from Israel, Part 2

Drought Lessons from Israel, Part 2

Drought-Stricken Israel has Plenty of Water

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

Israel is a drought-stricken country, yet they have plenty of water for farming and for their cities. What can California learn from these drought lessons from Israel?

Uri Shani, a Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, professor and former director of the Israel Water Authority during the high-stress drought six years ago, said Israel reached its current water-secure status using recycled water from cities and commissioning seven desalination plants along the Mediterranean Sea. Shani said, “Clean, desal water is used by everybody, even the farmers; however, they mostly use the recycled water from the cities. The advantage of desalinated water over recycled water is improved quality because it comes from natural water that is cleaner and less salty.”

“Of course the desal water that goes to the cities is then recycled,” explained Shani, “which goes to the farmers. We’ve solved the water quality problem in irrigation by generating more desal water, as it is not expensive anymore.”

Shani summarized, “In the competition between the cities and the farmers, the farmers will lose by definition because you must supply drinking water. So, when water is limited, the farmers will lose; there is no question about it. Now, the possibility of getting more water will always favor the farmer,” he said.

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Links

Israel Water Authority

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences

 

Ross Supports Desalination

CDFA’s Karen Ross Supports Desalination Plants

By Brian German, Associate Editor

 

Following the opening of the Carlsbad Desalination Plant near San Diego, the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere, CalAgToday asked CDFA Secretary Karen Ross if she views desalination as a possible solution to the drought-induced water reductions in California.

“Desalination is an important part of the solution,” answered Ross. “Israel has really advanced this technology and there is much for us to learn about its use from Israel.”

Israel has had great success in battling drought by building many desalination plants along the Mediterranean Sea. The plants provide fresh desal water to the cities, which is used, cleaned and recycled for use on the country’s farms.

Ross continued, “I am especially optimistic about the use of practical smaller-scale desal projects to reuse our brackish water—the more inland saline water. Our researchers can use this technology to help us solve the ‘brine waste’ problem; it will absolutely be part of our new water picture. There is no single solution to our water picture, and I think we need to look to Israel to learn from their experiences as well.”

“’There is, no doubt, a cost to this new technology, but by figuring out the technology and foçusing on smaller scale projects, we should be able to scale this up to a point that will make it cost-effective,” said Ross. “Let’s face it, the value of the water it brings back for reuse is potentially going to change the price we all pay for it. But we really need to focus on improving this technology and getting those costs down as much as we possibly can.”

“The Carlsbad plant is a billion dollar investment, which is overwhelming and intimidating,” said Ross. “But when we amortize the cost and calculate what it means per household, this investment represents a very important source of supplemental water that also gives us some flexibility and resiliency for the next drought, and the one after that. Our circumstances are different than ten or twenty years ago, so the costs pencil out in a different way.”

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The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant is a 50 million gallon per day (56,000 acre-feet per year (AFY)) seawater desalination plant located adjacent to the Encina Power Station in Carlsbad, California. Desalination has evolved into a desirable water supply alternative by tapping the largest reservoir in the world – the Pacific Ocean. The technology, available for decades, is at work in many arid areas of the world including the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. A 30-year Water Purchase Agreement is in place between the San Diego County Water Authority and Poseidon Water for the entire output of the plant. The plant has been delivering water to the businesses and residents of San Diego County since December 2015.

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Poseidon Water, the developer and owner of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, is a privately held company that develops and invests in water projects throughout North America. Poseidon offers customized solutions to meet the water needs of municipal governments, businesses and industrial clients.

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The Huntington Beach Desalination Project is also a 50-million gallon per day facility currently in late-stage development, also by Poseidon Water. Located adjacent to the AES Huntington Beach Power Station, the plant is scheduled to be operational by 2018.