From the western shore of the Sacramento River, to a dusty road near the Tule Canal, to a raised mound of earth in east Woodland, residents were carted along Friday on a tour of the future sites of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency surface water project.
The group — a handful of interested citizens from Davis and Woodland, a few water industry professionals and even some union laborers hungry for work — began its journey at Woodland’s Community and Senior Center with a briefing on the project.
There, Jim Yost, the principal founder of West Yost Associates who designed the project for the water agency, explained how the Joint Powers Authority was formed, about why the cities of Davis and Woodland need the new source of drinking water and about the reasoning for the placement of the project’s facilities.
Moments later, after being shown the sites on maps, the tour group was packed into vans and shuttled over to the physical locations to see it all in person.
First stop, the intake facility.
Crowded around a poster board on grassy slope hanging above the western bank of the Sacramento River, the tourists were told about the $42 million facility that will be responsible for pumping the 30 million gallons of water, per day, necessary to serve the combined drinking water needs of the cities of Woodland and Davis.
The water agency has partnered with Reclamation District 2035, the jurisdiction that maintains the land where the agency will pump the river water from, to build the new intake facility on the river.
Before heading on to the next stop, Yost and associates pointed out RD 2035’s old intake, a 100-year-old model that still operates just north of the new facility’s site. The plant mostly serves Conaway Ranch, a 17,300-acre slice of agricultural land tucked in between Davis, Woodland and the Sacramento River.
RD 2035 is looking to upgrade its existing facility to add fish screening on the river. The district will pay for its share of the project through state and federal funds from the Central Valley Program Restoration Fund.
Davis and Woodland are only on the hook to pay for the pumps that will suck the water each will use up from the river, worth about $13.2 million.
And on to the raw water pipeline.
Back in the vans, the tour group was transported along County Road 22, parallel to where the pipeline would be buried between the north edge of the road and the power lines.
The vans stopped at a dusty frontage road on the eastern edge of the Tule Canal, where a segment of the underground pipeline would have to be driven deeper into the ground in order to safely bypass under the river to deliver the water from the intake facility to the water treatment plant.
The water agency is still in the process of securing permits — without which the project can’t move forward — from various state agencies to bury the pipeline in certain areas, most notably near the Yolo County Bypass levies and underneath the Tule Canal.
Yost said that the agency is close to receiving those permits.
The raw water pipeline, a five-mile, 36-inch mortar-enforced steel vein, will funnel the water to the treatment plant entirely through pressure generated by the intake facility.
After the five-mile journey, the raw Sacramento River water will flow into a treatment plant in northeast Woodland, just north of Co. Rd 24 and south of the Gateway Shopping Center.
The treatment facility site was the last stop on the tour.
Yost and Dave Anderson, a third West Yost engineer, explained how the new large stage of earth, upon which the tour group stood, where the treatment plant would be built was filled by construction crews over the past year to protect the future facility from flooding.
On another poster, Anderson then detailed the process by which the potable water would be treated: pushed through grit tanks, zapped with ozone and purified with chloramine from chlorine and ammonia, among other processes.
Woodland Principal Civil Engineer Douglas Baxter also explained the next step in the process where the treated water would be pumped through new treated water pipelines to Woodland’s potable water infrastructure and south along Co. Rd. 103 to that of Davis’.
The pipeline to transport treated water to Davis would be 7.8 miles long, opposed to the 2.1 miles total needed for north and west distribution in Woodland.
After one last check of water quality following the trip through the pipeline, Baxter said, the water enters each city’s distribution system.
Construction for the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency surface water project is scheduled to begin late this year. Baxter said after the tour that even if the city of Davis votes down Measure I, Woodland likely would have the resources to go the project alone.
To inquire about a tour of the future sites of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency project, contact Lynanne Melhaff at [email protected] or 530-757-5673. For more information on the water agency, visit www.wdcwa.com.
— Reach Tom Sakash at [email protected] or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash