South County Ag Program

Overview

South County Ag Program
Recycled water for crop irrigation and habitat restoration

Regional San, in collaboration with regional stakeholders, is developing the South Sacramento County Agriculture & Habitat Lands Recycled Water Program (South County Ag Program). The South County Ag Program would offer multiple benefits, including providing a safe and reliable supply of tertiary-treated water for agricultural uses, reducing groundwater pumping, supporting habitat restoration efforts and providing near-term benefits to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

As dry conditions persist and water resources struggle to meet growing water demands, the South County Ag Program will bring lasting regional and statewide benefits.

Project Overview

The South County Ag Program proposes to use Title 22 tertiary-treated recycled water on allowed crops (e.g. alfalfa, irrigated pastures, etc.) to irrigate permanent agriculture lands and habitat mitigation lands through new recycled water transmission and distribution systems. The amount of water saved would be equivalent to the potable water needs of up to 100,000 homes in the Sacramento region. The program could also help improve water sustainability in the Sacramento region and contribute to Delta ecosystem restoration efforts.

This green effort has the capability of being phased and expanded as funding is secured. This program will provide multiple benefits including protection of surface water and groundwater supplies. At final build-out, the large program has the potential to provide up to 50,000 acre-feet per year of recycled water to irrigate up to 16,000 acres of permanent agriculture and habitat lands in south Sacramento County, which could make it one of the largest water recycling projects in the state.

If additional funding is secured, Regional San staff will have the option to pursue the large program alternative. At final build-out, the large program has the potential to provide up to 50,000 AF per year of recycled water and the capacity to irrigate up to 16,000 acres of agricultural, habitat mitigation and conservation lands, which could make it one of the largest water recycling projects in the state.

Costs and Funding

The program is flexible and can be built in phases to facilitate its financing and constructability. The costs to implement the South County Ag Program are being refined as part of an ongoing feasibility study. The preliminary cost estimates indicate that this program is competitive compared to other water recycling programs in the state.

Regional San is actively seeking local, state and federal funding assistance to support implementation of the South County Ag Program. In May 2012, the United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) notified Regional San that its grant application through Reclamation’s Title XVI Program was selected to receive $110,000 in grant funding. This grant is helping Regional San develop a Title XVI Feasibility Study that will allow Regional San to pursue construction grant funding to implement the program.

Project Benefits

  • The South County Ag Program has numerous regional and environmental benefits, including:
  • Use of recycled water in-lieu of potable water supplies to meet non-potable water demands
  • A drought-proof, reliable and sustainable water supply for agriculture and habitat lands
  • Reuse of highly treated wastewater instead of discharging to the Sacramento River
  • Supportive of State and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation goals for increased use of recycled water
  • Conserves surface water and groundwater supplies
  • Helps recover the over-drafted local groundwater table
  • Regulated use of recycled water is safe for crop irrigation
  • Supported by a wide range of stakeholders
  • Program costs are competitive compared to the development of new water supplies
  • Program is flexible and can be phased

Stakeholders

The South County Ag Program is supported by a wide-range of stakeholders, including:

  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Local farmers
  • Sierra Club
  • City of Elk Grove
  • County of Sacramento
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Regional Water Authority
  • League of Women Voters
  • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
  • Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk
  • Sacramento Area Creeks Council
  • Sacramento County Farm Bureau
  • Sacramento County Water Agency
  • Southgate Recreation & Park District
  • Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
  • Sacramento Water Recycling Coalition
  • Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority

Questions? Contact Us!

We encourage you to check back for updated program information. If you’d like to speak with someone regarding the project, please contact Jose Ramirez at (916) 876-6059 or via email at ramirezj@sacsewer.com.

General Information

South County Ag Program Feasibility Study

Regional San has identified areas in Sacramento County that could benefit from the use of recycled water. Regional San is therefore conducting a study to determine the feasibility of providing recycled water to agricultural and wildlife habitat lands in the south portion of the county. This study is being conducted as part of Regional San’s proposed South Sacramento County Agriculture and Habitat Lands Water Recycling Program (South County Ag Program).

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