Water agency builds new reservoir
The Sonoma County Water Agency, which manages the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District, will increase recycled water storage capacity by constructing the Reservoir 5 project adjacent to the district's treatment plant at 22675 Eighth St. E., in Sonoma.
Reservoir 5 will expand the district's recycled water storage by 37 million gallons. The district currently stores approximately 200 million gallons in four existing storage reservoirs. This increased capacity is necessary to enhance the district's ability to utilize recycled water for irrigation purposes.
Reservoir 5 will cost $2.3 million and is being financed by $600,000 in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding through the North Bay Water Reuse Authority. The authority includes five local agencies in the North San Pablo Bay region, including the water agency, formed to put recycled water to its broadest and most beneficial use. The remaining $1.3 million is financed through the district's Capital Improvement Plan.
Construction began earlier this month and Reservoir 5 is slated for completion in December 2011. Ford Construction of Lodi was selected to construct Reservoir 5 and it is estimated to create 10 jobs during the construction phase.
"With dwindling water supplies in California, the only reliable solution is increased conservation and efficiency, and that includes recycling and storing wastewater," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma. "The Reservoir 5 project will benefit consumers, our agriculture industry and our environment here in the North Bay. This is a great example of federal support from the Recovery Act making a powerful difference in our communities - smart investments in infrastructure create jobs and help continue America's economic recovery."
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, agreed.
"I am pleased that the Sonoma County Water Agency has received federal funding through the Recovery Act to help improve water conservation and encourage increasingly responsible water use in our community," he said. "Sonoma is a proven leader in water recycling, and this funding will only further help the Valley achieve its goal of minimizing the use of groundwater and Russian River water."
Valerie Brown, 1st District Supervisor and a water agency director, said Reservoir 5 will offset water demand from the Russian River and groundwater use in Sonoma Valley by expanding the district's ability to store and deliver recycled water to the region.
"There is a growing demand for recycled water in Sonoma Valley. Recycled water ensures our agricultural industry has a sustainable water supply for irrigation purposes for the future. Recycled water is a valuable resource and Reservoir 5 is an investment for our future water resources, environment and economy," Brown added.
During the dry weather months of May through October, the district currently provides recycled water to users including vineyards, dairies; and pasturelands. The existing users are located in the southern end of Sonoma Valley, southeast of Schellville in the Carneros region. The district currently has four recycled water reservoirs that store recycled water until it can be used for irrigation.
Reservoir 5's additional 37 million gallons provides operational flexibility and irrigation capacity which will allow the district to continue to:
• Reduce the discharge of treated wastewater into Schell Slough and San Pablo Bay.
• Provide recycled water in compliance with federal and state regulations.
• Offset peak water demand in Sonoma Valley.
• Offset groundwater use for potable or agricultural purposes that may be stressing aquifer conditions in some areas of Sonoma Valley.