Sound Planning is the Foundation of Reliable Services
The District's long-range planning concentrates on two essential issues: adequate resources and reliable infrastructure.
Adequate Resources: Environmental and political challenges are decreasing the reliability of the delta, our primary source (77 percent) of drinking water. DSRSD began diversifying our water-supply portfolio in the 1990s through water-use efficiency and water recycling. Current efforts focus on further diversification, including expanding recycled water irrigation, recharging groundwater with purified water and exploring options for desalination with other Bay Area water agencies. With long-term planning, regional collaboration, and appropriate investments, DSRSD can continue to deliver reliable water service.
Reliable Infrastructure: The District must ensure that pipes, pumps, treatment plants, and sewer systems are proactively maintained and upgraded. Fees and rates provide for current operations and infrastructure maintenance, capital investments, and a highly-qualified and trained workforce.
The stories below describe some of the ways DSRSD is planning and investing for the future. Click Archived News for items more than six months old.
More Than a Quarter of Our Water Is Recycled
Situation: The 2014-15 drought hit the Tri-Valley especially hard when the State Water Project (SWP) restricted the supply that normally provides almost all of our drinking water. Zone 7 Water Agency, the valley's water wholesaler, plans for dry years by banking surplus SWP water during wet years. Their “water bank” includes Lake Del Valle (shared with other agencies), the local groundwater basin, and groundwater storage facilities in Kern County (southern California). Zone 7 taps these reserves when needed, but depending on them exclusively is like living on your savings without replenishing it; eventually you exhaust your supply.
Solution: To reduce the amount of potable water its customers need, DSRSD produces recycled water for irrigation and construction. In 2015, recycled water accounted for 26 percent of total water consumption, up from 10 percent in 2006. Using recycled water for non-potable uses saved enough drinking water in 2015 to serve more than 8,000 homes for a year.
Purple Pipes Deliver Most of Our Recycled Water
As shown in the chart below, nearly all the recycled water used by DSRSD customers—94 percent—is delivered through dedicated pipelines to parks, school grounds, golf courses, and other large landscapes. Tanker trucks hauling water to construction sites and a popular residential pickup program accounted for only five percent of the more than one billion gallons produced in 2015. DSRSD uses the rest for treatment plant processes. Click the chart to enlarge.
How DSRSD Customers Used Recycled Water in 2015
Water Recycling Takes Years of Investment
As a new and sustainable water supply for irrigation, recycled water is reducing the region’s dependence on imported water from the environmentally stressed Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Recycling turns treated wastewater into a useful resource instead of a waste product discharged into the San Francisco Bay, and it keeps this valuable local resource in the local community.
Recycled water is available in the Tri-Valley today because planning and infrastructure investment began in the early 1990s. DSRSD partnered with East Bay Municipal Utility District to build the Jeffrey G. Hansen Water Recycling Plant (named after a former DSRSD director who led the effort to develop recycled water locally), as well as a distribution network of pipelines, pumping stations, and storage reservoirs.
The backbone system cost $82 million and was funded by federal and state grants (24 percent of the project’s cost), low-interest loans, water rates, and fees that developers pay to reserve capacity in the system. An expansion of the plant, needed to serve Pleasanton irrigation customers, is in progress.