COUNTY RECEIVES $3.7 MILLION IN WATER GRANT MONEY
By PETER JENSEN, Napa Valley Register, 5/25/13
The federal government will pump $3.7 million into water-supply construction projects in Napa County, and partly fund a recycled water pipeline to the Coombsville area.
The money will help pay for the Napa Sanitation District and Napa County to construct the approximately five-mile pipeline, which will run from Imola Avenue out to the Napa Valley Country Club, the North Bay Water Reuse Authority announced Friday.
The authority is receiving $4 million total, and Napa has some flexibility in using its $3.7 million, said Napa County Supervisor Keith Caldwell, a past chair of the water reuse authority. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program is the source of funding, and the federal agency provided $15.6 million total for five water-supply projects in California and New Mexico.
Some property owners along the pipeline have volunteered to finance its construction, and pay for that through property tax assessments in exchange for being able to hook up to the recycled water line.
Caldwell said the project is being put out to bid currently with two different options for size — a 2,000 acre-foot pipeline, and a 1,000 acre-foot pipeline. Depending on the costs of the successful bid, the federal government has pledged to pay 25 percent of the project’s costs.
The pipeline will deliver recycled water to the groundwater-reliant area, which drains the Milliken, Sarco and Tulocay creeks. The recycled water is intended to reduce groundwater use by irrigators and large water users, relieving stress on the supplies.
The Napa Sanitation District is also getting money for the initial phase of a project expanding the recycled water capacity at its treatment plant. The plant would almost double its capacity, from 1,900 acre-feet of water to 3,700 acre feet.
“It’s gratifying to know that our hard work continues to pay off,” Caldwell said in a news release. “The continued support from the Bureau of Reclamation tells me that our regional approach to water reuse is working and they recognize that this really is about creating a safe, reliable and sustainable water supply for a water-scarce region.”
The recycled water pipeline project has a separate $1.3 million to $1.7 million in federal funding that’s ready to be spent in the current fiscal year, but Caldwell said that will likely go to the Napa Sanitation District’s plant improvement. The pipeline and treatment plant would swap funding, he said.
The sanitation district’s project is ready to go, while the recycled water pipeline likely won’t break ground until 2014, he said. The pipeline would take the treatment plant’s money from the new $3.7 million allocation.
Securing the additional grant funding should help the pipeline draw in new property owners willing to pay for it, as it will decrease the overall cost they’ll have to pay, Caldwell said.
Caldwell said a project in Sonoma County received a $300,000 grant, rounding out the $4 million total allocation.
Napa Mayor Jill Techel, a member of the sanitation district and the water reuse authority, said the allocations will help deliver irrigation water to vineyards in the Coombsville area.
“This is a significant step that will help us deliver much-needed water for vineyard and landscape irrigation in the Coombsville area,” Techel said. “It will also allow the district to nearly double its capacity to produce recycled water, which is a valuable commodity and a reliable water supply. The support of the Bureau of Reclamation is critical to our efforts and shows that we are on the right track in pursuing a regional solution to our local water problems.”
The final North Bay project to receive money is the McGill recycled water pipeline, part of the Sonoma Valley recycled water project. The $300,000 grant will help build 700 feet of pipeline along McGill Road, east of Highway 12 and south of the city of Sonoma.