One of the best parts of my job as mayor is working with our youth—from visiting classrooms giving lessons on leadership to hosting the Mayor’s Youth Conference at City Hall—I enjoy engaging with the leaders of tomorrow. It’s shocking though that so many of Turlock’s youngest residents still don’t understand where their current drinking water comes from or, even more disappointing, that our groundwater supply is quickly diminishing in quality and quantity.
While all of Turlock’s residents have come to enjoy the relative reliability of turning on the tap without interruption, Turlock’s City Council continues to make great strides to secure more water for our residents.
In July, we took a monumental step toward diversifying our city’s drinking water source by reaching an agreement with the Turlock Irrigation District for water from the Tuolumne River. This drinking water project is desperately needed so that cities in the Turlock Groundwater Subbasin have a safe and reliable water supply for the future, and because this project can be a resource to help ensure long-term groundwater sustainability for all who rely on water from our subbasin. This new water source will complement our efforts to manage our groundwater. In fact, this agreement will keep even more water within the Turlock Subbasin by reducing urban pumping and actually adding an additional 2,000 acre feet of recycled water for use on Turlock farms as an offset.
In just these past few weeks, the City of Turlock has also made great progress in using more recycled water on our parks, medians and regional farms. Specifically, the partnership in the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Project will see up to 13,000 acre feet of Turlock’s recycled water put to reuse by March 2018, making Turlock a key player in one of the nation’s largest recycled water projects.
As you can see, Turlock is on the cutting edge of water management, so it shouldn’t surprise outsiders—especially our state leaders in Sacramento—that we are also on the cutting edge of groundwater conservation and preservation. Through education and partnerships, we can help our Central Valley youth be proud of the efforts that their fellow community members are making to manage our groundwater.
So please join me and leaders of the Turlock Groundwater Basin Association for a workshop from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Ceres Community Center, 2701 Fourth St. As a community, we will discuss the new requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the current conditions of the Turlock Subbasin, and have a frank discussion with water experts from Stanislaus County, the Turlock Irrigation District and the City of Turlock.
Consider bringing your family members, friends, neighbors and—most importantly—any young people that you might know. After all, we’re making these investments to preserve Turlock’s groundwater for them.