Recycled water issue returns to Turlock

The board of the Turlock Irrigation District will talk Tuesday evening about supplying some of its Tuolumne River water to a treatment plant proposed for three cities.

The board will consider “certain proposed terms and conditions” that would be attached to any agreement to provide the water to Turlock, Ceres and south Modesto, according to the agenda. The project, which has been discussed off and on since the 1980s, could reduce their reliance on wells.

TID officials have said recently that the river supply should be made up in part with highly treated water from the cities’ sewage plants. They object to Turlock’s plan to sell some of this water to the Del Puerto Water District, which serves farmers along Interstate 5 between Vernalis and Santa Nella.

Del Puerto is among the many districts that have had drastic reductions from the federal Central Valley Project because of drought and fish protections. TID contends that the water should stay in the Turlock basin, where it could support agriculture.

The river already has a treatment plant, operated by the Modesto Irrigation District for about 20 years, that supplies other parts of Modesto and a few smaller communities. It has been credited with allowing the aquifer to recharge, providing a buffer during this year’s severe drought.

Tuesday will be the first evening meeting for the TID board. It usually meets at 9 a.m.

The agenda also includes setting up a pair of public workshops in August on the idea of TID providing river water for treatment.