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Water’s recycled future

Water: Officials hope an estimated 22,744 acre-feet will be recycled by 2020 in and around the Santa

Posted: August 1, 2010 10:38 p.m.
Updated: August 2, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

In the wee early hours of any morning, as you drive along The Old Road near Magic Mountain by the Tournament Players Club Valencia golf course, you might see the sprinklers hard at work watering the 10th or 11th hole.

What you’re actually seeing, as you drive by, is history in the making.

You’re witnessing the future face of water in Santa Clarita Valley.

The golf course uses recycled water to keep things green.

In fact, it conserves most of about 430 acre-feet of water in a year.

How much is that in day-to-day living terms?

It’s about 1.83 million bathtubs full of water.

Imagine every single person in Santa Clarita Valley — a little more than 275,000 people — recycling 15 bathtubs full of water every year, or about a bathtub of water better than every month.

That’s the amount of water recycled today at the golf course.

Now, imagine 50 times that amount of water being recycled here 10 years from now — that’s the goal of the people planning our water usage.

By 2020, water officials hope an estimated 22,744 acre-feet of water will be recycled in and around Santa Clarita, watering our parks, school yards, wilderness tracts along our paseos and, of course, on more golf courses.

Newhall Ranch, as proposed by Newhall Land Development Inc., is expected to recycle 5,344 acre-feet of water a year of the 22,744 projected 2020 goal.

“It is a future water supply,” said Dirk Marks, the Castaic Lake Water Agency’s water resources manager.

On par
Last Tuesday, while scores of people were taking their seats at City Hall for the public hearing on rate hikes proposed by the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District board, water officials were mapping out long-term plans for our water at the Castaic Lake Water Agency overlooking Central Park.

The plan is officially called the 2010 Urban Water Management Plan, and is mandated by the state of California to provide public input into the long-range planning of our scarce and most valuable natural resource.

It explores all facets of water availability from now until the year 2035.

The valley draws water from two sources ­— about half from local groundwater wells and half from the State Water Project.

Topping agency discussion of the plan was the availability of state and local water resources and the importance of recycled water.

Will Santa Clarita Valley see 22,744 acre-feet of water recycled by 2020, or even by 2035?

“I don’t see it going up as smoothly as you would think,” said agency General Manager Dan Masnada. “The question is: ‘When is it best to spend the money in making sure we meet that demand?’”

Putting in pipelines to distribute recycled water throughout Santa Clarita Valley will take time and money.

“We’ll be putting in the infrastructure for this, and we need to build a backbone system connecting customers to backbone lines,” said Marks.

As California emerges from its third consecutive summer of drought, building a larger system to recycle water becomes much more urgent for the Santa Clarita Valley, the agency heads said.

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