Farmers in California are struggling to keep their crops irrigated and have turned to a new solution: buying urban wastewater.
The Del Puerto Water District in the Central Valley is headed by Anne Hansen, who has definitely jumped on the urban wastewater solution bandwagon. Buying water on the open market has become too costly and Hansen believes a more reliable supply is needed to support the district.
Water Online reports:
“Hansen decided to work with the wastewater treatment plant in Modesto, CA, which is conveniently located near some of the state’s driest agricultural territories.
The plant is upgrading its equipment to make its water cleaner, adding new ultraviolet disinfection technology. That’s part of a $150 million upgrade “to meet new water quality requirements. It won’t be drinking-water quality, but according to state standards, it will be clean enough to use on crops,” the radio report said.
Will Wong, the engineering division manager for Modesto, oversees engineering and capital planning and projects for all water resources and utilities infrastructure.
When Modesto floated the idea of making treated wastewater available to outside entities, “Del Puerto Water District raised their hand, as quickly as we brought the question up,” Wong said, per the radio report.”
Del Puerto is just one of many Californian water districts turning to less conventional solutions to manage their lack of water during the drought.
From an infrastructure management viewpoint – the reuse of resources, particularly if this can generate a revenue stream, is well worth taking the time to complete return on investment analysis.
There are always practical public health concerns with the reuse of wastewater, but these concerns can be overcome with the right application of technologies, and use of the recycled water, as the Del Puerto example, demonstrates.
As part of your infrastructure asset management Future Demand analysis, it is worthwhile looking at what other networks or facility managers are doing, and considering if this can be adapted to your situation. Following that review, if you can also generate a practical extra revenue stream – even better.