Domestic Water Project

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Water Sales Agreement Approved

At its regular meeting on July 28, 2015, the TID Board of Directors approved the final negotiated Water Sales Agreement for the transfer of water to the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority.

Next Steps

Multiple actions still need to be taken before the construction and operation of a SRWA water treatment plant to service the three cities with domestic water. The first of which involves the cities getting approval to finance the project. Other actions involve various elements of permitting, design and construction.

A Brief History of the Domestic Water Project

The possibility of serving drinking water to local communities has been discussed off and on for nearly three decades, and has taken on several iterations.

When the project was initially proposed, the timeframe was defined as lasting from 1988 to 1992 and it was projected to supply full surface water to all communities. When that project failed to materialize, a smaller project was proposed in 1995. 

TID has conducted an Environmental Impact Review of the project and constructed an infiltration gallery on the Tuolumne River in 2001. An updated project was then proposed in 2003.

The City of Turlock approved the First Drinking Water Agreement in October of 2005, followed by Ceres, Hughson, Modesto and Keyes. TID purchased property to be used for a water treatment plant in 2008.

Turlock, Ceres and Modesto formed the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority in 2011 and entered into negotiations with TID. Several public meetings regarding the project took place in 2013 and 2014, including a workshop with the TID Board of Directors on November 19, 2013 and a Domestic Water Update to the TID Board on January 14, 2014. 

On July 15, 2014, the TID Board authorized staff to proceed with specified terms in future negotiations with SRWA. The Board also held two public listening sessions in August 2014 regarding the project.

On July 14, 2015, the TID Board approved the terms and conditions of a Water Sales Agreement for the transfer of water to SRWA and directed TID’s designated negotiator to present the Agreement to SRWA. On July 23, 2015, the SRWA Board voted unanimously to adopt a modified version of the July 14 Agreement.

Multi-faceted Objectives to Multiple Water Interests

The objectives of the project are to meet the existing and projected demands of cities while reducing their reliance on groundwater avoiding the need to develop new wells and well head treatments to combat the declining quality of the groundwater supply. In addition, the project will help to better manage water resources and provide a sustainable supply for both agricultural and urban users as well as benefit Tuolumne River fish and other aquatic resources.

How It Would Work

Water for the treatment plant would be released as needed from Don Pedro Reservoir, flowing down the river to the infiltration gallery pipe system in the bed of the river, where it would be collected and pumped to the plant for treatment. Treated water would then be conveyed via new pipelines to the communities of Turlock, Ceres, and South Modesto which currently rely on groundwater supplies exclusively for their drinking water needs.

Environmental Benefits

Delivering the project water down 25 miles of the river would allow that water to pass through critical spawning and rearing reaches of the river before being diverted for consumptive use. In this manner, water used for urban supplies would also provide significant environmental benefits to Chinook salmon and other fish that live in the Tuolumne River.

TID’s Position

TID has always believed that the proposed domestic water project is beneficial to the area and will help to improve the local groundwater basin; therefore TID is committed to working with SRWA on the project while recognizing the need to minimize the impact to existing irrigation customers.

Equally important to the area in improving the Turlock Groundwater Subbasin is the utilization of recycled water locally. It is TID’s belief that any “new” water resources, such as recycled water, best serve the region’s water needs when put to beneficial use within the Turlock Subbasin.