Environment News Service (ENS)

California Senators Propose Bay Area Water Recycling


Source: Environment News Service (ENS)

WASHINGTON, DC (ENS) – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both California Democrats, have introduced two measures to increase the supply of non-drinking water for California's Bay Area. The recycled water would be used for irrigation of vineyards and other urban, environmental and agricultural lands that need water for irrigation or ecological restoration.

The Bay Area Regional Water Recycling Program Authorization Act would make federal assistance available to seven Bay Area water recycling projects. When completed, these seven projects are estimated to provide 12,205 acre-feet of water annually in the short term, and 37,600 acre-feet annually in the long term.

This would be accomplished the senators say, while reducing demand on the Sacramento River Delta and on existing water infrastructure.

The second bill, the North Bay Water Reuse Program Act of 2007, would authorize the construction of pipelines to irrigate local vineyards with recycled water in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties.

The water for irrigation would be recycled from five wastewater treatment facilities. In addition to vineyards, the water would be used for wetlands restoration in the Napa-Sonoma Marshes complex, as well as urban landscaping, pastureland and farmland in the three counties.

The program will generate up to 30,000 acre-feet annually of reclaimed water for use on 42,238 acres of urban, environmental and agricultural lands requiring water for irrigation or ecological restoration for the region.

'Water recycling offers great potential to states like California that suffer periodic droughts and have limited fresh water supplies,' Senator Feinstein said. 'So, I am pleased to join with Senator Boxer to introduce two pieces of legislation to help the San Francisco Bay Area – a region with a growing population, limited water resources, and a unique environmental setting – address its critical water needs.

A State of California task force in 2003 recommended that California expand its recycled water use by over a million acre-feet by 2025.

When completed, these two projects will provide the region with up to 67,600 acre-feet of additional water supply, equivalent to the water use of approximately 540,000 people.

Senator Boxer said, 'As the population in the Bay Area and California continues to grow, we need to be more resourceful about our water usage and conservation. Through innovative water recycling, these bills will help our communities meet their water needs while relieving some strain on the Bay-Delta, which is California's lifeblood and the source of two-thirds of its water supply.'

California Congressman Mike Thompson has introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

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