The Board of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency recently sent a draft decision to the State Water Resources Control Board requesting water rights to 45,000 acre-feet from the Sacramento River.
Jim Nielsen, a California state representative, expressed the need for a cleaner water source in Woodland and Davis in the application for water rights that he sent to the board.
“Both cities are plagued by unreliable water supplies and wastewater discharge effluent that currently exceeds allowable limits, or will do so in the near future,” Nielsen said. “The water quality problems are caused largely by degrading groundwater quality… along with aging water supply facilities.”
The Clean Water Agency plans to construct a state-of-the-art intake facility starting in 2013 and put it into operation by 2016. The new plumbing system will cost nearly $325 million to build and will raise prices by about $1,625 per person. Together, it will cost Woodland and Davis $3 million a year for the water.
“Our water rates are really going to go up,” said Max Stevenson, Yolo County’s District Water Resources associate. “I’m guessing [there will be a] doubling or tripling of water rates over time.”
Woodland and Davis are two of the few cities in California that still rely solely on a groundwater plumbing system.
About four of these groundwater wells in Davis and five in Woodland have been abandoned, Stevenson said. It costs $1.5 million to replace a well, which are polluted by the increased salt levels caused by water softeners and human waste.
The plumbing infrastructure in Davis is more than 100 years old and riddled with cracks in the tubing that can lead to contamination. Until the contamination levels are above the legal limit, the tap water drawn from the wells will become more and more unpalatable until it is unsafe to drink and the well is abandoned.
“Both cities have made a significant investment in the project’s development,” Nielsen said, “which is designed to provide a higher-quality water source to ultimately reduce harmful constituents in the wastewater effluent.”
For more information on the Clean Water Agency go to wdcwa.com.
DYLAN AARON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.