Northern California skiers and snowboarders will see the benefit of reclaimed water this winter. Soda Springs Mountain Resort will be the first in California to use non-potable reclaimed water in its snowmaking system this year. Starting this month, Donner Summit Public Utility District will provide reclaimed water to the resort, as a safe, sustainable alternative to potable water.
Donner Summit Public Utility District treatment plant just invested over $20 million to upgrade its wastewater treatment facility. Managers at the resort assured clients that the snow is actually safer than the snow made from surface water. “Recycled water is strictly monitored by state and federal agencies and meets the highest quality of treated water in the state of California,” said Amy Ohran, the resort’s general manager.
Due to the persistent drought in California, it is common to see recycled water used in parks and landscaping. “As far as water resources go, recycled water is really the most drought-resistant source of water available,” says Ohran. The drought has resort managers looking for more economically responsible and environmentally friendly sources of water, so Orhan expects other resorts to follow in Soda Springs’ footsteps.
Tom Skjelstad, the utility General Manager, said prior to supplying recycled water, Donner Summit Public Utility District used to supply Soda Springs almost 3 million gallons of potable water to make snow in one year.  Now, the water they supply for the slopes at Soda Springs is reclaimed from the wastewater that flows into the Donner treatment plant, reducing the major water stress impacting the West.
This partnership is not only economically beneficial, but also environmentally sustainable, ensuring that more water is left in one of the region’s most important rivers. “The partnership will benefit first skiers then fish and wildlife along the South Yuba River. It’s a good way to stretch supplies for us and the environment,” said Nancy Vogel, a spokeswoman for the state Natural Resources Agency.
 Dunfee, Ryan. Soda Springs, CA to Make Snow From Recycled Water. Teton Gravity Research. http://www.tetongravity.com/video/ski/soda-springs-ca-to-make-snow-from-recycled-water
 Sabalow, Ryan. Don’t eat this snow: Sierra Resort to use recycled water on slopes. The Sacramento Bee. http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article46143105.html