It will provide the Del Puerto Water District with highly treated water from the sewage plants in Modesto and Turlock. The district, with about 45,000 acres along Interstate 5 from Vernalis to Santa Nella, has been especially hard-hit by drought and fish protections.
“Today is a change in the course of our future, a meaningful change,” General Manager Anthea Hansen told The Modesto Bee on Friday morning. “The landowners will have a reliable base supply that they can count on.”
The ceremony took place at a spot along the Delta-Mendota Canal west of Patterson. That federal waterway has been the only source for Del Puerto, but it is getting only 5 percent of its contracted amount this year because of junior rights and pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
“THE LANDOWNERS WILL HAVE A RELIABLE BASE SUPPLY THAT THEY CAN COUNT ON.”- Anthea Hansen, Del Puerto Water District
The project is among the largest in the recent wave of water recycling efforts in California and beyond. Water once was so abundant that no one would think of using a supply that came by way of kitchen and bathroom drains. Drought will cure you of that squeamishness.
Del Puerto farmers will cover the cost with help from a state loan. It had been estimated at $100 million, but Hansen said it could fall under $90 million. A $48 million contract already has been awarded for the Modesto portion of the project, to be built by a joint venture called Myers-Rados. The Turlock part does not yet have a contractor.
Some of the recycled water will go to national wildlife refuges south of the Delta.
The project includes wastewater from Ceres, which uses the Modesto treatment plant. It and the Turlock plant have been upgraded to the point where the outflow can be used for crops. People should not drink it.
Turlock added a twist this year: Residents and businesses can get recycled water for use on landscaping. They must take an online course in safe handling and arrive at the plant with the proper container.