News About the North Bay Water Reuse Authority

North Bay Water Reuse Program awarded $4 million in federal funding

May 24, 2013

Contact: David Rabbitt, NBWRA Chair
Sonoma County Supervisor

Bill Long, NBWRA Vice-Chair
Novato Sanitary District Board

Keith Caldwell, NBWRA Director
Napa County Supervisor
(707) 319-7374

Supporters of a regional water supply program received a vote of confidence this week for their efforts in putting recycled water to good use.

Three North Bay projects were awarded $4 million in construction funding from the Bureau of Reclamation to provide recycled water for beneficial uses in agriculture and urban irrigation.

The grants came from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART program and will fund portions of three projects already under way as part of the North Bay Water Reuse Program (NBWRP), a regional group comprised of seven public utility agencies in Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. A total of $15.6 million in funding was awarded to five water reuse projects in California and New Mexico. “Through this program, Reclamation is able to partner with local entities to provide needed water for municipal, industrial, agricultural, recreational and environmental needs,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor. “This is necessary for a secure water supply that improves the environment, supports jobs and ensures a clean water supply.”

“It’s gratifying to know that our hard work continues to pay off,” said Napa County Supervisor Keith Caldwell, who is the past Chair of the North Bay Water Reuse Authority (NBWRA), the group’s governing body. “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.”

In Napa, WaterSMART funds will help the Napa Sanitation District (NSD) and Napa County install five miles of pipeline for the Milliken-Sarco-Tulocay (MST) Recycled Water Pipeline project, which will provide up to 1,000 acre-feet of water per year (AFY) for agricultural and landscape irrigation. Groundwater in the area has been over-pumped and the recycled water will help alleviate water quality and water supply problems.

The NSD also received funding for the first phase of a treatment plant project that will allow the District to nearly double its recycled water treatment capacity from 1,900 AFY to 3,700 AFY. To date, a total of $3.9 million has been received for the pipeline construction and treatment plant expansion.

“This is a significant step that will help us deliver much-needed water for vineyard and landscape irrigation in the Coombsville area,” said Napa Mayor Jill Techel, who sits on both the NBWRA and NSD boards. “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 third project in this year’s grant award is the McGill Recycled Water Project, which is a component of the Sonoma Valley Recycled Water Project. The $90,000 grant will help construct 700 feet of recycled water pipeline along McGill Road that will connect to an existing pipeline and serve properties on the east side of Highway 12, south of the city of Sonoma.

“I think it’s wonderful that the Bureau of Reclamation continues to recognize the good teamwork and planning efforts of all the agencies involved,” said Bill Long, vice-chair of the NBWRA and a Novato Sanitary District board member. “The Bureau’s support reflects the flexibility and cooperation of local agencies and their ability to understand each other’s priorities and put the best projects forward. This confirms the importance that federal and state agencies place on regional cooperation.”

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair David Rabbitt, who is the current Chair of the NBWRA, said “We are pleased that the Bureau of Reclamation values our efforts as a tri-county regional water reuse authority and we are grateful to have this continued support, which will allow the NBWRA to pursue beneficial uses for recycled water. Using recycled water not only helps the environment and agriculture, but is a drought proof source that helps conserve our potable water supplies.”

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, Napa County, City of Petaluma and the Marin Municipal Water District.

Phase 1 of the NBWRP is currently under 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 irrigation uses, the Napa-Sonoma 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.