Turlock and Ceres residents finally are drinking treated water
from the Tuolumne River, [according to] officials gathered
Tuesday at the plant, which reduces the cities’ reliance on
wells. Hefty rate increases starting in 2018 are covering most
of the $220 million cost. … “High-quality drinking water is
now flowing to our communities that are so much in need of a
long-term solution to the declining groundwater levels and
increasingly stringent water-quality regulations,” Ceres Mayor
Javier Lopez said. The Turlock Irrigation District is selling
part of its river supply to the plant, just east of the Geer
Road Bridge. Advocates say less pumping by the cities will mean
a more abundant aquifer for farm and urban users alike.
The Bureau of Reclamation recently announced the selection of
31 planning projects to receive more than $28 million in
appropriated funding to support potential new water reuse and
desalination projects. The 31 projects are in California,
Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The projects also
bring a cost-share contribution of $64.7 million, bringing the
total investment of $93.7 million. Reclamation said the funding
is aimed at creating new sources of water supply less
vulnerable to drought and climate change. Recipients will use
the funding to prepare feasibility studies and undertake other
planning efforts like preliminary project design and
environmental compliance activities.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that it would
provide $28.97 million in financial aid for 31 potential new
water reuse and desalination projects. The funding will help
prepare feasibility studies and undertake planning efforts such
as preliminary project design and environmental compliance
activities. … The 31 projects are in California, Idaho,
Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. The projects also bring a
cost-share contribution of $64.7 million, bringing the total
investment of $93.7 million.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is seeking
public comment on expanded plans to reuse wastewater for
drinking. The department released a roadmap for its Advanced
Water Purification Program last week. ADEQ says the move comes
amid increased water scarcity due to persistent drought.
Its roadmap would provide guidelines for municipal and private
utilities to treat sewage and send the recycled water directly
to homes. As it stands, treated effluent is filtered through
the ground before the water is ready for consumption. ADEQ
Deputy Director Randy Matas says specific treatment techniques
will be left up to local communities, as the map is solely
seeking to provide standards.
As Arizona faces historical water consumption and continued
drought, being able to treat wastewater to be reused has become
an attractive option to maintain water security.
Thursday, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
(ADEQ) released proposed plans on how to safely turn wastewater
into reliable, purified water. The plan introduces the Advanced
Water Purification (AWP) Program, which ADEQ hopes will allow
stakeholders and the public to better understand and establish
clear communication throughout the process.
Phoenix is moving forward with plans to build a facility to
turn wastewater into drinking water by 2030 and Gilbert wants
in. Town Council on Tuesday will consider entering into a
non-binding agreement with Phoenix to investigate a regional
advanced water purification facility. The item is on the
consent agenda. The memorandum of understanding will “advance
the planning and studies needed to fund, design and construct
the facility,” Water Resources Manager Lauren Hixon said in a
report to council.
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced
decisions for groundwater sustainability plans in 17
non-critically overdrafted groundwater basins in California.
[11 plans were approved, 6 deemed incomplete]. These
determinations mark ongoing progress in reaching long-term
sustainability for the state’s groundwater basins, a critical
water supply for millions of Californians.
Momentum is building for a unique
interstate deal that aims to transform wastewater from Southern
California homes and business into relief for the stressed
Colorado River. The collaborative effort to add resiliency to a
river suffering from overuse, drought and climate change is being
shaped across state lines by some of the West’s largest water
The southern part of California’s Central Coast from San Luis Obispo County to Ventura County, home to about 1.5 million people, is blessed with a pleasing Mediterranean climate and a picturesque terrain. Yet while its unique geography abounds in beauty, the area perpetually struggles with drought.
Indeed, while the rest of California breathed a sigh of relief with the return of wet weather after the severe drought of 2012–2016, places such as Santa Barbara still grappled with dry conditions.
Summer is a good time to take a
break, relax and enjoy some of the great beaches, waterways and
watersheds around California and the West. We hope you’re getting
a chance to do plenty of that this July.
But in the weekly sprint through work, it’s easy to miss
some interesting nuggets you might want to read. So while we’re
taking a publishing break to work on other water articles planned
for later this year, we want to help you catch up on
Western Water stories from the first half of this year
that you might have missed.
Californians have been doing an
reducing their indoor water use, helping the state survive
the most recent drought when water districts were required to
meet conservation targets. With more droughts inevitable,
Californians are likely to face even greater calls to save water
in the future.
Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.
In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)
Imported water from the Sierra
Nevada and the Colorado River built Southern California. Yet as
drought, climate change and environmental concerns render those
supplies increasingly at risk, the Southland’s cities have ramped
up their efforts to rely more on local sources and less on
Far and away the most ambitious goal has been set by the city of
Santa Monica, which in 2014 embarked on a course to be virtually
water independent through local sources by 2023. In the 1990s,
Santa Monica was completely dependent on imported water. Now, it
derives more than 70 percent of its water locally.
This 2-day, 1-night tour offered participants the opportunity to
learn about water issues affecting California’s scenic Central
Coast and efforts to solve some of the challenges of a region
struggling to be sustainable with limited local supplies that
have potential applications statewide.
California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.
Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.
This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current
state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an
overview of the geography and history of the river, historical
and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of
the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership
with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an
excellent overview of climate change and how it is already
affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists
anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and
precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are
underway to plan and adapt to climate.
20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater,
and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and
turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource
through various activities.
This 7-minute DVD is designed to teach children in grades 5-12
about where storm water goes – and why it is so important to
clean up trash, use pesticides and fertilizers wisely, and
prevent other chemicals from going down the storm drain. The
video’s teenage actors explain the water cycle and the difference
between sewer drains and storm drains, how storm drain water is
not treated prior to running into a river or other waterway. The
teens also offer a list of BMPs – best management practices that
homeowners can do to prevent storm water pollution.
As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water
supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing
treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including
irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge
and industrial uses.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water provides an
overview of the history of water development and use in Nevada.
It includes sections on Nevada’s water rights laws, the history
of the Truckee and Carson rivers, water supplies for the Las
Vegas area, groundwater, water quality, environmental issues and
today’s water supply challenges.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to California
Wastewater is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication
that provides background information on the history of wastewater
treatment and how wastewater is collected, conveyed, treated and
disposed of today. The guide also offers case studies of
different treatment plants and their treatment processes.
All water is naturally recycled and
reused as part of the hydrologic cycle. Recycled
water is also produced by purifying wastewater for safe use in
drinking (potable) water and for non-potable uses such as
Recycling wastewater provides a new, costly but renewable water
resource that can bolster local water supplies, save energy and
reduce the amount of sewage treatment plant effluent emptied into
rivers and oceans.
Wastewater management in California centers on the collection,
treatment, reuse and disposal of wastewater. This process is
conducted largely by public agencies, though there are also
private systems in places where a publicly owned treatment plant
is not feasible.
In California, wastewater treatment takes place through 100,000
miles of sanitary sewer lines and at more than 900 wastewater
treatment plants that manage the roughly 4 billion gallons of
wastewater generated in the state each day.
Grey water, also spelled as gray water, is water that already has
been used domestically, commercially and industrially. This
includes the leftover, untreated water generated from washing
machines, bathtubs and bathroom sinks.
This printed issue of Western Water features a
roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources
consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development
with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor
to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial
page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of
research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of
This printed issue of Western Water looks at the energy
requirements associated with water use and the means by which
state and local agencies are working to increase their knowledge
and improve the management of both resources.
When a drought occurs as it has this year, the response is
couched in the three Rs of the waste hierarchy: reduce, reuse and
The reduction part is well-known. State and local officials are
urging people to use less water in everything they do, from
landscape irrigation to shorter showers. Spurred by California’s
difficulties, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on June 4 declared a
statewide drought. On July 10, the governor and Sen. Dianne
Feinstein announced their support of the Safe, Clean, Reliable
Drinking Water Supply Act of 2008 – a $9.3 billion bond proposal
that would allocate $250 million for water recycling projects.
This issue of Western Water examines the continuing practice of
smart water use in the urban sector and its many facets, from
improved consumer appliances to improved agency planning to the
improvements in water recycling and desalination. Many in the
water community say conserving water is not merely a response to
drought conditions, but a permanent ethic in an era in which
every drop of water is a valuable commodity not to be wasted.
Water is the true wealth in a dry land – Wallace Stegner
One hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt signed
legislation that changed the course of American history and
permanently altered the landscape of the western United States.
The West of today retains some of the vestiges of the land that
brought the explorers, entrepreneurs and dreamers hundreds of
years ago. Despite the surge in population, vast tracts of
wilderness remain – forests thick with evergreen trees and
seemingly unending open spaces where human inhabitants are few
and far between.
Drawn from a special stakeholder symposium held in September 1999
in Keystone, Colorado, this issue explores how we got to where we
are today on the Colorado River; an era in which the traditional
water development of the past has given way to a more
collaborative approach that tries to protect the environment
while stretching available water supplies.