Beginning in December 2017, the City of Modesto will begin selling highly treated wastewater to struggling farmers in an effort to curb reliance on groundwater. Once the project is up and running, it will be California’s largest wastewater-to-agriculture reuse project, marking the first time recycled water flows through a federally owned canal.
According to the News Deeply, the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program “will collect tertiary-treated sewage from the cities of Modesto, Turlock, and Ceres and transport it through new pipelines into the Delta Mendota Canal, owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.”
Costing over $90 million, the treated wastewater will then be routed and used for irrigation on over 200 small family farms in the Central Valley, one of California’s most productive agricultural regions. Once completed, the pipeline is expected to distribute more than 50,000 acre-feet of recycled water to much needed agricultural lands.
As researchers and regulators continue to collaborate on how to conserve California’s water resources, wastewater reclamation and reuse has quickly become a go-to-solution in the water manager’s toolbox. However, large centralized wastewater reuse projects, such as the North Valley Project may be difficult to replicate across the state because of cost and political impediments such as historic water right laws.
 Weiser, Matt. North Valley: Recycling Urban Wastewater for Farms and Wildlife. News Deeply, September 13, 2016. Web.https://www.newsdeeply.com/water/articles/2016/09/13/north-valley-recycling-urban-wastewater-for-farms-and-wildlife
 Jerome, Sara. Wastewater-to-Agriculture Project is First of its Kind. WaterOnline.com, May 11, 2017. Web. https://www.wateronline.com/doc/wastewater-to-agriculture-project-is-first-of-its-kind-0001
Picture Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture Flickr