Reliable recycled water for regional sustainability
Regional San, in collaboration with stakeholders, is developing Harvest Water (formerly known as the South County Ag Program). Harvest Water is a recycled water program that will provide a safe and reliable supply of tertiary-treated water to agriculture and habitat lands in southern Sacramento County. Harvest Water will facilitate groundwater recovery, boost sustainable agriculture, strengthen local habitats, and offer near-term benefits to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Latest Update – May 2023
Planning: By the end of March, the Harvest Water team had secured sufficient Letters of Intent to meet Harvest Water’s recycled water demand recruitment goals. Upcoming planning work includes finalizing the recycled water service agreement template, outlining a recycled water rate setting process, and continuing to work on EcoPlan landowner agreements.
Design: The team is developing final designs for the new recycled water pump station, transmission main, distribution pipelines, and on-farm connections. The Harvest Water Pumping Station and Elk Grove Transmission Main completed their 60% design milestones. Other pipeline segments—Franklin/Eschinger, Central/South, and West Distribution Pipelines—neared 100% design. Additionally, 50% design drawings for the On Farm Connection Assemblies were submitted for review by staff.
Outreach: Staff continues outreach and coordination with local growers on pipeline construction and permitting. Residential and commercial outreach will take place during the summer to increase awareness of construction anticipated to start in the fall.
Funding: The Harvest Water team has completed work with the California Water Commission on early reimbursements for the initial 5% of the $291.8 million total conditionally awarded funding from the Water Storage Investment Program (WISP) and continues work towards a final funding agreement. The $30 million U.S. Bureau of Reclamation grant award is forthcoming and staff continue to explore additional funding opportunities.
Harvest Water, formerly known as the South County Ag Program, is being developed by Regional San. Once operational, Harvest Water will be one of the largest water recycling projects in California with the potential to deliver up to 50,000-acre feet per year (AFY) of tertiary-treated recycled water from the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant near Elk Grove to up to 16,000 acres of farm and habitat lands in southern Sacramento County.
Tertiary-treated recycled water undergoes a thorough treatment process that removes harmful bacteria and chemicals so that the water is safe to reuse and release back into the environment. Harvest Water will enable local farmers to use recycled water instead of pumping groundwater.
Additionally, Harvest Water will lead ecosystem management activities and improve wildlife habitats by increasing water in the surrounding area during winter.
As the project progresses, the Harvest Water team will continue conducting extensive outreach and coordination with local growers, finalizing designs, and preparing for construction. A skilled team of engineers, planners, biologists, and more will lead this innovative project that transforms how recycled water is used in southern Sacramento County.
Find project resources and documents listed below.
Timeline and Map
- 2011-2012: Feasibility Study
- 2015-2020: Program Planning
- 2020-2021: Design Reports
- 2021-2023: Final Design
- 2023-2025: Construction
- 2025-Ongoing: Operational
Harvest Water is located roughly between I-5 and the Cosumnes River, and from south Elk Grove to the Cosumnes River Preserve.
click map to enlarge
The California Water Commission conditionally awarded Regional San $291.8 million in Proposition 1 grant funding through the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) to help make Harvest Water a reality for the Sacramento region. WSIP funding is awarded based on public benefit through a rigorous and competitive review process, and Regional San is honored to receive state support for Harvest Water.
Regional San was also conditionally awarded a $30 million grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation grant as part of the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program.
Harvest Water benefits:
Facilitate groundwater recovery:
- Increases regional and state water supply reliability through groundwater storage and coordination of surface water and groundwater, which aligns with state and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation goals for recycled water use
- Expands the volume of groundwater in storage by approximately 370,000 acre-feet, which is approximately one-third the size of Folsom Lake
- Raises local groundwater levels by more than 25 feet and helps advance the goals of basin sustainability under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)
Boost sustainable agriculture
- Provides up to 50,000-acre feet per year (AFY) of reliable recycled water to irrigate more than 16,000 acres of agricultural lands
- Offsets drought conditions and supports agricultural resilience to preserve rural landscapes in and around the program area
- Encourages recycled water use through financial incentives to participating landowners/operators
Strengthen local habitats
- Sustains healthy water supply over 5,000-acres of riparian and wetland habitats through improved groundwater conditions
- Provides additional habitat for Sandhill Crane, Swainson’s Hawk, Giant Garter Snake, and a variety of other threatened species
- Supports a longer migration window for fall-run Chinook Salmon through increased streamflow volume in the Consumnes River
- Improves regional water quality by reducing the salinity load to Sacramento and Delta waterways
Regional San has worked extensively with our environmental, agricultural, and water supply partners including:
- Ducks Unlimited
- Local farmers
- Sierra Club
- City of Elk Grove
- County of Sacramento
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Environmental Defense Fund
- 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
- Federal and state legislative members