With increased water demands due to climate change and population growth, solutions for a sustainable and resilient water supply are more critical than ever. That’s why the Santa Clara Valley Water District, now known as Valley Water, and the cities of Palo Alto and Mountain View are exploring a potential partnership to help fill the need for future drinking water supplies through new regional water reuse programs. Water reuse can include either traditional recycled water for non-drinking purposes such as irrigation and industrial needs, but it can also include reusing water for future drinking water supplies through advanced water purification technologies.
Currently, Valley Water is in the process of updating its Water Supply Master Plan to ensure a thriving Santa Clara County. One of the key strategies of the master plan is to expand water conservation and water reuse to develop a more resilient and sustainable water supply. Valley Water has established a goal that 10 percent of total countywide demands be met from water reuse. In addition, the master plan has identified a goal of developing 24,000 acre-feet per year of advanced purified water to increase drinking water supplies by the year 2028. An acre-foot is equivalent to the amount of water used by two families of five in a year.
To help meet these goals, Valley Water is looking to collaborate with the cities of Palo Alto and Mountain View to expand regional recycling and advanced purified water efforts. In early 2018, staff from Valley Water and both cities began to meet with an eye towards making smart local investments in cutting-edge water reuse technologies that will help the region in north county secure more sustainable, climate-resilient drinking water supplies for its residents, businesses and visitors.
Discussions have since focused on the idea of a regional two-part agreement that includes a local recycled water plant to provide higher quality recycled water, primarily for irrigation and cooling towers. This facility would be owned and operated by Palo Alto. The second part of the proposal includes a regional purification center that would provide advanced purified water for future drinking water supplies countywide, owned and operated by Valley Water. The proposals will be presented at an upcoming City of Palo Alto council meeting later this month.
These types of projects offer multiple benefits, including being locally controlled and drought-resilient. They also offer various environmental benefits, such as:
- Minimize countywide reliance on imported water
- Decrease water that would be diverted from the Tuolumne River
- Reduce the flow of treated wastewater from the Regional Water Quality Control Plant into the San Francisco Bay
Not to mention that recycling water is good for the environment. The more we recycle and reuse water, the less we need to take out of rivers, streams and groundwater basins. The next evolution of modern civilization requires innovative and sustainable water management practices such as expanding recycled and advanced purified water programs in order to maintain a healthy environment, vibrant economy and way of life. And, it’s no surprise that in Silicon Valley, the world’s technology hub, we are paving the way forward.
Advanced Purified Water: Tap into the Future
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