By BARRY EBERLING, Napa Valley Register, 11/25/14
A $4 million state grant will help the Napa Sanitation District build recycled water pipelines in the Carneros and Coombsville areas, creating a new option for irrigating landscaping and vineyards.
This drought relief grant comes from the state Department of Water Resources. The district will split the money evenly between the Carneros and Coombsville projects.
Napa Sanitation District is located south of where Highway 29 crosses the Napa River on the Butler Bridge. It cleans up sewage for the area. The treated and disinfected water can be used for irrigation and some industrial purposes – but not drinking – if the district can transport the water to customers.
The $14 million Coombsville project is to take water for five miles through the groundwater-deficient Milliken-Sarco-Tulocay creeks area east of the city of Napa. This project broke ground for construction in August. Now it will receive $2 million in the state grant money.
“I think what we’re intending to do with it is actually add some main pipeline,” said county Supervisor Keith Caldwell, who helped advocate for the grant. “We will then be able to bring in people who have expressed an interest in participating, but weren’t on the original route of the pipeline.”
An earlier $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is also helping to pay for the project.
The $20 million Los Carneros project is to take recycled water for nine miles, from the Stanly Ranch through the Los Carneros area southwest of the city of Napa. It is being worked on by both Napa Sanitation District and the Los Carneros Water District. Los Carneros landowners in July voted to form an assessment district to help pay for installation costs.
Receiving the grant lessens the amount that must be borrowed for the project, said John Stewart of the Los Carneros Water District. The project should be under construction next year, with the irrigation water going to agriculture and some residential use, he said.
A previous $1 million grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is also going toward the Los Carneros project.
The two projects will increase the district’s recycled water distribution network from 11 miles to 25 miles of pipeline, Napa Sanitation District General Manager Tim Healy said in a press release. They will increase the annual sale of recycled water from 1,400 acre feet per year to over 3,000 acre feet.
An acre foot of water equals the annual water usage of about two homes.
The $4 million awarded to the Napa Sanitation District is part of a larger, $32 million grant application submitted to the state by the Association of Bay Area Governments.
“The Bay Area’s grant application was ranked number one in the grant evaluation process, showing the quality and importance of these recycled water projects in promoting drought resiliency,” Napa Mayor Jill Techel said in the press release. She is board chairwoman for the Napa Sanitation District.