The following is a press release issued by the City of Ukiah
The California State Water Resources Control Board has awarded the City of Ukiah $53.7 million for expansion of its Water Recycling Project. The grant will allow the City to increase capacity of the recycled water project from 1,000 acre-feet per year to 1,500 acre-feet per year. The City utilizes recycled water to support parks, sports fields, and schools, as well as for agricultural and industrial uses. The increasing reliance on recycled water means reduced demand on the Russian River and Lake Mendocino and groundwater resources.
In 2019 the City built Phases 1-3 of the recycled water system. This included approximately 8 miles of recycled water pipeline, a 66-million-gallon reservoir, a contact basin, and pumping facility. This was possible due to $34 million in funding from the State Water Resources Control Board, including $9 million in grants and a low interest loan.
Since then, the City moved forward with design and planning for Phase 4 expansion so that the project would be ready for construction when additional grant funding became available. Phase 4 is more costly as it includes street work to extend the water infrastructure through the city and improvements to the wastewater treatment plant to ensure there is enough wastewater ready to be recycled for use.
Last year the City applied for additional grant funds made available through the state budget, and on January 10, 2023 Ukiah executed a grant agreement with the State for $53,770,000. This grant funding makes Phase 4 possible, without requiring the City to incur additional debt.
In total, the City uses about 3,000 acre-feet per year of water. When Phase 4 is complete, the recycled water project will be providing about 1,500 acre-feet per year. That represents about a 50 percent conservation offset, and dramatically reduces the need for potable water.
“We are committed to using our water resources responsibly and strategically,” said Sean White, Director of Water and Sewer for the City of Ukiah. “Our recycled water project creates a more diversified and drought-resilient water supply. That’s not only good for the parks, and schools, and businesses that directly utilize the recycled water, but it’s also good for the rest of the region as Ukiah reduces its demand for potable water.”
In recent drought years, the region has experienced water curtailments and reduced supplies available from Lake Mendocino. For many of the farmers connected to the City of Ukiah’s Recycled Water Project, recycled water was their only source of reliable water in 2021. Additionally, during the drought Ukiah began delivering water supplies by truck to help several cities on the coast meet their minimum human health and safety needs. That was possible because Ukiah was able to carefully meet its own needs through recycled water, groundwater, and conservation measures, and was therefore able to help neighboring areas that were in crisis.
Construction is expected to begin in Fall 2023, and the Phase 4 expansion project is expected to be operational by Fall 2024. It will expand recycled water delivery to Vinewood Park, Frank Zeek School, Pomolita School, soccer fields, Ukiah High School, the Ukiah Cemetery, Anton Stadium, Giorno Park, Todd Grove Park, and the Ukiah Valley Golf Course, in addition to the currently served areas of Ukiah Softball Complex, Oak Manor Elementary School, Riverside Park, the Ukiah Transfer Station & Recycling Center, and 700 acres of agriculture.