The Turlock City Council approved a Water Supply Agreement on Tuesday that will see the Del Puerto Water District paying $175 per acre foot for Turlock recycled wastewater for the next 40 years.
The water sale agreement, and its steady stream of revenue, allows the City to apply for a low-interest loan from the State Water Resources Control Board in order to pay for Turlock's part in the design and construction of the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program.
"Revenue from Del Puerto will be pledged to repay the loan for the project, would cover all of our operational expenses as well and provide some excess revenue to the Water Quality Control Fund. In effect, the agreement means there will be no cost to Turlock ratepayers for both the construction and the operation of the project," said Municipal Services Director Michael Cooke.
The recycled water program is a Joint Powers Agreement between the cities of Modesto and Turlock and the Del Puerto Water District to construct a pump station and pipelines to convey recycled water from Turlock and Modesto to the Delta-Mendota Canal for agricultural use by Del Puerto Water District and for wildlife refuges by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The North Valley project is the single largest recycled water conveyance project in the country, and the first water project for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the owner and operator of the Delta-Mendota Canal.
Currently, the City's wastewater is discharged into the San Joaquin River, a tributary to the Delta and an impaired water body under the Clean Water Act. The City is subject to increasing wastewater treatment costs and regulations, like a provision that requires the installation of a new ultra violet light disinfection system — at an estimated cost of $15 million not including electricity and labor — by 2019.
The recycled water project will remove the City's wastewater from the San Joaquin River and pump it to the westside through the Harding Drain Bypass (installed in 2014) and into the Delta-Mendota Canal.
The total cost of the project is expected to be approximately $100 million, with Turlock's share being $30 to 34 million.
The details of this historic project have taken decades to work out, but for Del Puerto Water District General Manager Anthea Hansen it has been well-worth the hard work by all agencies.
"Your approval tonight of this agreement is one last piece of a very complicated and colorful puzzle. It sets in ink an agreement that will meet a large portion of the desperate need for water Del Puerto's farmers have on the westside of our region as well as reward the City's coffers with an otherwise unavailable revenue stream," said Hansen.