When Woodard & Curran helped develop a new source of water for agricultural customers in the Del Puerto Water District (DPWD) by bringing them recycled water from the cities of Modesto and Turlock, our team was also responsible for completing all the necessary environmental documentation for the program. The program will deliver 25-30,000 acre-feet per year of recycled water for agricultural use and will also deliver a portion of the available recycled water to state and federal wildlife refuges in the San Joaquin Valley.
New infrastructure projects in California must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and if the project has federal involvement, with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This program delivers water through the Delta-Mendota Canal, a federal facility owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, so federal authorization was required for the project to proceed. To meet both CEQA and NEPA requirements, we prepared a combined Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS).
EVALUATING COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
The EIR/EIS evaluated the impacts of constructing a major trenchless crossing of the San Joaquin River, as well as operational effects of the project, such as changes in water quality from introducing recycled water into a federal water supply facility. The EIR/EIS also considered the effects that supplying recycled water to wildlife refuges could have on sensitive species, as well as the impact of reduced discharges to the San Joaquin River on aquatic habitat and on groundwater recharge.
Woodard & Curran worked closely with our project partners to complete the EIR/EIS on an accelerated schedule to facilitate applications for low-interest loan funding for the project, and to navigate the maze of environmental and permitting requirements so that this vital water supply could be brought on line as quickly as possible.