A project that has been running for three decades is nearing completion and is expected to provide a reliable source of drinking water to residents of Turlock by next year.
The regional surface water supply project was formed in 2011 as the towns of Turlock and Ceres, in cooperation with Turlock Irrigation District, to initiate the process of building a plant to provide water. treated water from the Tuolumne River to residents. The Town of Turlock has worked for 30 years to secure this alternative source of drinking water supply, as its current drinking water supply is 100% groundwater – and declining.
Studies for the project began in 2016, with design running from 2018 to 2021. Construction of the project began last year. Acting City of Turlock Municipal Services Director Dan Madden said that despite some setbacks including supply chain issues caused by the pandemic and further cost increases, the project has been launched early enough that these problems did not cause any delays.
“At this point everything is on schedule to be completed by mid-2023,” Madden said. “… However, with any construction project of this size, unforeseen situations invariably arise. “
Madden said that at present, the water treatment facility just east of Fox Grove Park is about 40% complete. The transmission pipeline at Turlock, which will carry 30 million gallons of water per day from Fox Grove to a storage tank on Quincy Road, is nearly 90% in the ground. A pipeline is also being installed from the processing plant along Hatch Road to Ceres.
With most of the pipeline installed, initial construction has also started on the Turlock water storage tank, while work is underway to add chlorination facilities and related technologies to the water system. existing city water supply.
In December 2017, the Town of Turlock adopted a new water pricing structure starting in 2018 and increasing annually for five years to help maintain existing groundwater wells and fund the new water treatment project. surface area of $ 220 million. Turlock and Ceres borrowed $ 184.9 million for the plant after receiving $ 35 million in grants, but borrowing from the State Revolving Fund at an interest rate of 1.2% enabled the project save $ 100 million that it would have incurred through municipal bond financing.
The new water tariff schedule was to reduce a single-family water bill from $ 36 per month in 2017 to $ 42 per month as of March 2018, $ 49 per month in 2019, $ 57 in 2020, $ 67 in 2021 and $ 79 in 2022. The new rate includes a service charge of $ 25 per month for a typical single-family home, which covers the cost of securing the water source and delivering it to the customer.
According to Madden, the savings will not result in reduced rates at this time.
“We are too early in the project to determine with certainty the final construction costs, operating costs and other items related to the City’s drinking water system that may arise in the future,” he said. -he declares.
In addition to unforeseen costs, other potential factors can affect the ability of the treatment facility to deliver water in the future, such as drought. Although the Central Valley is currently experiencing a wet winter for the first time in more than two years, the State Water Board recently placed restrictions on California dams. TID currently has a 25% reduction, and the water reductions implemented on farmers also apply to the SRWA plant.
Madden credited TID’s water management techniques, as well as the water agency’s ability to provide water in drought conditions through this management. While he can’t predict the future, Madden doesn’t believe drought conditions will affect the project’s ability to provide water.
“However, as the demand for water increases, over time [drought] can have an impact, ”Madden said. “Especially if we experience long-term drought in conjunction with several years of low snowfall in the watershed. But time will tell.
To keep up to date with the construction of the water treatment plant, visit www.stanrwa.com.