The city will sell recycled wastewater to West Side farmers under an agreement approved Tuesday night.
The Turlock City Council voted 5-0 for the deal with the Del Puerto Water District, which has had drastic cutbacks in its federal supply.
Turlock and Modesto will provide highly treated water from their sewage plants to the district, which serves about 45,000 acres along Interstate 5 from Vernalis to Santa Nella. An interim project could be operating by summer, and the long-term system could be ready by 2018.
Del Puerto got zero federal water in 2014 and 2015 and expects just 5 percent of its contracted amount this year, because of drought and fish protections in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The recycled water will supply about 30 percent of the total demand.
I like that the stigma has dropped significantly on recycled water.
Gary Soiseth, Turlock mayor
“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 West Side of our region,” district General Manager Anthea Hansen told the council, “as well as reward the city’s coffers with an otherwise unavailable revenue stream.”
Under the 40-year deal, Turlock will receive $175 per acre-foot delivered each year, reaching 13,000 acre-feet per year at build-out. Del Puerto also is covering the estimated $100 million construction cost, including pipelines from the treatment plants to the federal Delta-Mendota Canal.
Modesto approved its water sale agreement with Del Puerto last year.
The interim project, using only Turlock wastewater, will involve up to 13,000 acre-feet per year at $75 each. The city will release it into the San Joaquin River, and an equal amount of river water will be delivered through a Patterson Irrigation District canal to Del Puerto. The long-term goal is to keep the wastewater out of the river.
The water recycling is possible because of upgrades to the Modesto treatment plant, which also serves Ceres, and the one in Turlock. The supply is approved for use on crops.
“I like that the stigma has dropped significantly on recycled water,” Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth said.
John Holland: 209-578-2385