The Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors held three public workshops on Tuesday and Wednesday to inform and receive any concerns members of the public may have about the proposed Domestic Water Project.
The proposed Domestic Water Project would allow TID to sell domestic drinking water to the cities of Turlock, Ceres, and south Modesto, which make up the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority, by running water from the Tuolumne River through a water treatment plant.
The plant would cost an approximate $150 million and would be built by the cities who would be receiving the water.
When asked by Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors Chairman Vito Chiesa to give an estimate of how long it would take to construct the plant, Steve Stroud, general manager of the SRWA, said approximately seven years.
“I’d like to say five, but I have to build the plant, so I think seven,” said Stroud.
Stroud added that the timeframe would be the same whether the SRWA or TID were to build the plant, due to the environmental and regulatory process that the project would have to go through.
The project has been more controversial as of late, as TID wants to use treated wastewater for irrigation from the City of Turlock in those dry years, such as the one we are currently in. In those years in which TID irrigation customers suffer a reduction, the resolution approved by TID would allow TID to get back a portion of the domestic water they are giving to the SRWA in treated wastewater for irrigation. In years of no reduction, the City would not be required to give any water to TID.
Members of the Del Puerto Water District, who are currently working on a proposal to purchase wastewater for irrigation from the SRWA has fought TID’s proposal, saying that their drought-stricken district needs the water more than TID.
However, those previous concerns were not discussed during any of the public workshops, and those who spoke kept a continuous theme of unity.
“We can point fingers and say it’s Denair’s fault, or it’s Hickman’s fault, or it’s this city’s fault or we can get together and recognize that the water flows downhill, we’re all in this community together, and how do we do what’s best for this region,” said TID Director Michael Frantz.