California’s water crisis has severely limited the amount of water available for irrigation, devastating highly productive farmland and causing serious economic hardship throughout the state. The North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (NVRRWP) is a regional solution to water supply and reliability issues on the west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley. By delivering more than 30,000 acre-feet of recycled water per year at full capacity, the NVRRWP provides an estimated direct annual economic benefit of approximately $30 million, contributing nearly $70 million per year to the region’s economy.
INNOVATIVE PERMITTING OPENS THE DOOR TO REUSE
The project is the first of its kind, and required creative planning and permitting, and persuasive work with regulators and other stakeholders, particularly with respect to use of the Delta-Mendota Canal for recycled water delivery and its designation as non-potable water reuse. Had the program not been able to use the Delta-Mendota Canal or it have been deemed a potable reuse project, it would likely not have been able to proceed due to the expense of the additional delivery pipelines and treatment that would have been necessary.
This model, accepted by all the stakeholders and regulatory agencies involved, allows for beneficial reuse of recycled municipal wastewater on agricultural lands and wildlife refuges, even where a connection to a drinking water reservoir exists, unlocking many potential similar projects across the state.
CREATING SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC BENEFIT
The NVRRWP provides a new source of water to agricultural customers in the Del Puerto Water District (DPWD) by bringing treated recycled water from nearby Cities of Turlock and Modesto to DPWD through a direct pipeline to the Delta-Mendota Canal. Recycled water is also being delivered to South of Delta Wildlife Refuges, providing a critical incremental water supply to protect the Pacific Flyway.
The economic benefits of the NVRRWP are substantial in that it will provide a reliable water supply for food production on thousands of acres of farmland, meeting at least one quarter of the annual supply requirement of the DPWD landowners. The NVRRWP will reduce the unsustainable reliance on groundwater supplies and pumping from the Delta, while also helping to meet the State Water Board’s recycled water goals and providing an incremental water supply to the wildlife refuges.