Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency celebrates completed recycled water storage tank

By on May 6, 2018

A recently completed 1.5-million-gallon recycled water storage tank along with two new distribution pumps and other energy efficiency improvements were the focus of a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (PVWMA), the city of Watsonville and its Public Works and Utilities personnel plus officials from Santa Cruz County. Located on California’s central coast, Watsonville’s is primarily an agricultural community.

The new storage tank and other improvements make it possible to deliver more recycled water for agricultural irrigation in the region. Growers using recycled water can reduce their reliance on groundwater supplies.

“This past year the agency, working closely with the City of Watsonville, completed construction of a 1.5-million-gallon recycled water storage tank and improved the distribution pump station facility” explained PV Water General Manager Brian Lockwood. “The new tank provides us the ability to treat and store nighttime flows and distribute the recycled water during the day. We have an increased volume irrigation supply which (is) ready each day for distribution to coastal farms. The additional storage is part of PV Water’s plan to optimize recycled water deliveries, which is an important part of our plan to stop seawater intrusion and groundwater overdraft” he added. Lockwood concluded, “This project was made possible by Federal and State grants (Title XVI, Prop 84, Prop 1), which helped fund the Recycled Water Facility and recent improvements.”

The nearly $5 million upgrades – which originally went online late last summer but were not fully completed until recently – will allow farmers to reduce their demands on overextended groundwater supplies. PVWMA is a Groundwater Sustainability Agency. As of September 2014, California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires governments and water agencies of high and medium priority basins to halt overdraft and bring groundwater basins into balanced levels of pumping and recharge. Under SGMA, these basins should reach sustainability within 20 years of implementing their sustainability plans. Critically over-drafted basins must do so by 2040.

As PVWMA began bringing its new recycled water storage tank on line the use of recycled water by the agricultural community has grown. According to Lockwood recycled water use made up 93 percent of PVWMA’s supplemental supply delivered to growers in January. February’s percentages were similar at 87 percent recycled water.

Lockwood noted, “That’s water we didn’t have to pump from our overdrafted aquifers, water that would have flowed unused out to the bay. The new tank also helps to protect our environment and regional economy.”