News About the North Bay Water Reuse Authority

Water Reuse Program awarded $1.5 million in federal funding

May 16, 2014
Contact: David Rabbitt, NBWRA Chair
Sonoma County Supervisor
Keith Caldwell, NBWRA Director
Napa County Supervisor
(707) 319-7374

Napa Sanitation District recycled water treatment and delivery will be expanded

The regional water supply program that serves three North Bay counties will once again receive federal funding for water reuse projects that stretch local water supplies and provide beneficial uses in agriculture and urban irrigation.

The North Bay Water Reuse Program (NBWRP) received $1.5 million in federal funding this year, which will be used by the Napa Sanitation District to expand its recycled water treatment and distribution system and help complete a key pipeline to deliver recycled water to a water-scarce region east of Napa.

The grant funding is from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART program and will fund the Napa Sanitation District (NSD) projects that are under way as part of the NBWRP, a regional group comprised of 10 public utility agencies in Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties.

A total of $20 million in funding was awarded this year to nine water reuse projects in California. “Through WaterSMART, the Bureau of Reclamation helps local communities invest in modern water conservation and other infrastructure projects across the West,” said Bureau of Reclamation Acting Commissioner Lowell Pimley. “Through comprehensive Title XVI efforts, we helped conserve nearly 390,000 acre feet of water in 2013 — enough to supply 1.5 million people with water for an entire year.”

Federal participation has been a key factor in the Milliken-Sarco-Tulocay (MST) pipeline project being carried out by Napa County and the Napa Sanitation District. The 25% federal cost share has provided the incentive for many property owners to participate, said Napa County Supervisor Keith Caldwell, a past chair and member of the NBWRA, the program’s governing board. “It is the 25 percent federal share that made this project attractive to the landowners so that they were willing to put up the additional 75 percent,” he said. “That has been key in making this project work.”

Caldwell added that the MST/Coombsville area “suffers from severe overdraft and we have no idea what this drought is going to do that … but everyone would agree that it can’t be good. It’s not going to help it recover.”

NBWRP has received WaterSMART funds for the past four years since the program’s inception.

This year, the federal funds will also help NSD’s expansion of its recycled water treatment and delivery system, including filters, pump stations and pipeline construction. “This grant from USBR is a critical component of the funding needed to complete this project,” said Tim Healy, General Manager of the Napa Sanitation District. “The additional funding also allows us to install a larger pipeline, giving us the flexibility to provide additional water in the future for new customers.”

Recycled water will be delivered for vineyard and landscape irrigation in the Milliken-Sarco-Tulocay (MST) region. “MST is a water-short area and groundwater levels continue to drop from overdrafting. Making recycled water available in MST won’t stop the overdraft, but it will slow it down,” said Healy. “The funding also allows the District to expand its treatment and delivery of recycled water to more customers.” The federal grant will allow construction of a larger pipeline with the capacity to deliver 1,000 acre-feet of water per year. It is expected that the project will deliver water during the next irrigation season for agriculture and landscaping.

“This is another critical step in helping us deliver much-needed water for vineyard and landscape irrigation in the Coombsville/MST area,” said Napa Mayor Jill Techel. “The Bureau of Reclamation’s ongoing support is a key to our efforts. It shows us that a regional approach to our local water problems is working and water reuse can be a key part of the solution to our ongoing water scarcity issues.”

“We are grateful that the Bureau of Reclamation continues to endorse and support the efforts of the North Bay Water Reuse Authority and its programs to protect our limited water supplies through regional water reuse,” said Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt, chair of the NBWRA. “The program’s efforts are paying off and we are seeing the benefits of recycled water as a drought-proof water supply, particularly in the water-scarce regions in the North Bay.”

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 10 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, Marin Municipal Water District and Marin County.

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.