News About the North Bay Water Reuse Authority

North Bay Water Reuse Program awarded $3.8 million in federal funding

May 3, 2012

Contact: Keith Caldwell, NBWRA Chair
Napa County Supervisor

David Rabbitt, NBWRA Director
Sonoma County Supervisor

Salt Marsh restoration and Napa Recycled Water Pipeline construction projects

Two North Bay projects that will recycle up to 2,700 acre feet of water per year for beneficial uses in agriculture, irrigation and habitat restoration have been awarded $3.8 million in construction funding from the federal Bureau of Reclamation.

The funds are part of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART program and will fund a portion of two projects already under way that are part of the North Bay Water Reuse Program (NBWRP), a regional group comprised of seven public utility agencies in Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties.

“This is great news,” said Napa County Board of Supervisors Chair Keith Caldwell, who is also the current Chair of the North Bay Water Reuse Authority (NBWRA), the group’s governing body. “It says a lot about the relationship we have with the Bureau of Reclamation and that they understand the value of our project and how important it is for us to have continued funding. The three counties involved in the North Bay Water Reuse Program have demonstrated that a regional approach to water reuse and water supply can be successful.”

In Napa, $2.025 million in WaterSMART funding will help the Napa Sanitation District (NSD) and Napa County complete the Milliken-Sarco-Tulocay (MST) Recycled Water Pipeline project, which will provide 500-1,000 acre feet of water per year (AFY) for irrigation uses and agriculture. Groundwater in the area has been over-pumped and the recycled water will help alleviate water quality and water supply problems.

Napa Mayor Jill Techel, who is a NBWRA Director and Chair of the NSD Board, said NSD was “thrilled to get the funding. It’s wonderful to get support for a project that will use recycled water where it can do the most good. Securing these funds for a local project is difficult, and having the Bureau of Reclamation and our neighboring agencies as partners makes that possible.”

The Salt Marsh Project being constructed by the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District will receive $1.812 million to complete a 3.5-mile pipeline near the Sonoma-Napa county border that will transport tertiary treated recycled water for tidal restoration of 640-acres of former salt ponds. It is one of the largest wetlands restoration projects on the West Coast and will utilize up to 1,700 AFY to dilute the bittern ponds. Restoration of the ponds is expected to take 10 to 15 years.

Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, who is also a NBWRA Director and a director of the Sonoma County Water Agency, said the variety of projects funded by WaterSMART grants illustrates the creative approach that is needed in water management. “By finding beneficial uses for recycled water, we can not only help the environment and agriculture, but we can also conserve our potable water supplies,” said Supervisor Rabbitt. “Recycled water is a drought-proof source of water that provides numerous benefits and we appreciate the support of the Bureau of Reclamation.”

The NBWRP is a coordinated, regional effort to offset potable water demand by promoting water reuse for agriculture, urban use and environmental protection. It is comprised of seven public utilities in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties. Its members currently include: Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District, Napa Sanitation District, Novato Sanitary District, Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District, North Marin Water District, and Napa County.

Phase 1 of the NBWRP is currently under design and construction with six recycled water distribution projects, which when complete will provide 3,757 AFY for irrigation in the North San Pablo Bay region. In addition to that, the Salt Marsh project will receive up to 1,700 AFY for habitat restoration. (An acre-foot of water is 325,851 gallons.)

The Bureau of Reclamation news release about the WaterSMART awards can be found at

For more information about the North Bay Water Reuse Authority, visit the website at
E-mail:, or call (707) 235-8965.