PVWMA celebrates 10-year anniversary of recycled water

Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency General Manager Brian Lockwood, left, hands Congressman Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel, a commemorative hat at the organization's 10th anniversary Thursday. — Contributed

WATSONVILLE — In the decade since its inception, Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency has delivered 14 billion gallons of water to the agriculture industry.

The agency began delivering recycled water in 2009, which helped reduce groundwater pumping and the resultant overdraft.

The agency celebrated its 10-year anniversary on Thursday.

Owned and operated in conjunction with the City of Watsonville, the Watsonville Area Water Recycling Facility treats wastewater to tertiary standards, making it safe for irrigating edible crops on approximately 5,000 acres of coastal farmland.

Recently, PV Water expanded its recycled water storage ability, improved its distribution pumps and reconfigured its Blend Well pipelines to increase deliveries of supplemental water to growers.

These improvements add reliability, improve efficiency and increase quality while helping reduce groundwater pumping in coastal areas most affected by seawater intrusion. To fund these projects, the City and PV Water won competitive grants and acquired low-interest loans from state and federal agencies.

“We are proud of our collaborative successes,” PVWMA General Manager Brian Lockwood said. “Providing supplemental water to local growers makes a significant, positive impact on our groundwater basin while helping keep the agro-economy vibrant.”

Groundwater is the primary water source in the Pajaro Valley, accounting for approximately 95 percent of the total water supply. For many decades, groundwater pumping exceeded the amount that naturally replaced it, leading to overdraft conditions.

Chronic overdraft has led to groundwater storage depletion and groundwater quality degradation, particularly because of seawater intrusion.

The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency is a state-chartered water management district formed to manage water supplies, and to prevent further increase and reduce long-term overdraft.

For information, visit www.pvwater.org.

•••

PVWMA MILESTONES
• 2002 — Water deliveries begin via the new Coastal Distribution System, with supplemental water produced from the Harkins Slough Recharge and Recovery Facility

• 2006 — Coastal Distribution System expansion

• 2009 — City of Watsonville & PV Water complete the Recycled Water Facility, Recycled Water production commences

• 2016 — Coastal Distribution Pipeline expansion

• 2017 — 1.5-million-gallon storage tank and distribution pump efficiency improvements added at the Recycled Water Facility

• 2018 — Record supplemental water deliveries almost 1.7 billion gallons

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