By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The state of Turlock’s water
water faucet

It’s something most Turlock residents take for granted — turning on their kitchen faucet and immediately receiving clean water for drinking, cooking and washing. How Turlock can secure a reliable source of safe drinking water for the future will be a key issue for the new Turlock City Council in 2019 and beyond.  Below is a status report on Turlock’s water resources.




— The City of Turlock gets 100% of its water supply from well water.

— Water quality standards are becoming increasingly more stringent.

— 7 of Turlock’s 23 wells have issues with water quality at present.

·         5 wells are above the maximum allowable level of 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP), an industrial solvent that has been found as an impurity in soil fumigants and persists in groundwater.

·         2 wells exceed the maximum allowable level of arsenic.




— Groundwater quality and availability is declining.

— “In the early 1990s you’d go down to about 50 feet and you’d find water. Now you have to go down to 80 feet. For the past 20-plus years our water level has declined about 30 feet,” City of Turlock Municipal Services Director Michael Cooke.

— 2014 California legislation mandates long-term groundwater sustainability in the next 20 years.

— “The good news is our residents and businesses have done a great job of conservation over the past five years, which has bought us more time to work on some of our issues,” said Cooke.



— City of Turlock had a plan to drill 2 to 3 new wells to make up for the ones that have gone down.

— In 2018, Turlock had five test holes drilled. Not one of those locations was successful. They either had not enough production or water quality was bad.

— City staff is now deciding whether to move forward with one of the poor test sites and install water treatment systems at the start — and increasing the cost of the project $2-3 million — or to rehabilitate a couple of the City’s existing wells.



—  In 2018, the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority, made up of the Cities of Turlock and Ceres — and in partnership with the Turlock Irrigation District — broke ground on the site of the future surface water treatment plant which is slated to deliver treated Tuolumne River water to Turlock homes by 2022.

— Estimated cost of project (October 2017) is $278 million:

  • Turlock $172 million;
  • Ceres $100 million;
  • TID $6 million.

— The City of Turlock received a $30 million grant for the surface water project from the Parks Bond Act of June 2018 that will go towards the $172 million.

— In 2017, the City of Turlock adopted water rate increases to pay for groundwater well treatment and help fund the surface water treatment plant.

— “The Stanislaus Regional Authority Board is interviewing contractors to design and build the project. The goal is to try and drive the cost of the project down through a competitive process…The other thing we’re looking at is what other sources of funding can we get to reduce the impact on the ratepayers,” said Cooke.