On Sept. 1, Yucaipa Valley Water District General Manager Joe Zoba recommended that the board authorize the district staff to develop plans for the construction of Recycled Water Fill Station No. 2 on Fifth Street north of Wildwood Canyon Road in Yucaipa. The plan, approved by the board of directors, will help serve more customers who use recycled water for irrigation, construction grading, fire department usage. Additionally, the board approved temporarily closing the Recycled Water Fill Station No. 1 to move it, upgrade it and add better security for the grounds.
Each week the U.S. Drought Monitor releases a status of current drought conditions in the U.S. Different parts of California fall under the intensity levels of none (Yucaipa/Calimesa area) to extreme drought (Northern California) as released Aug. 27.
While the service area did not experience any significant impacts during the 2014-2016 drought, our community was required to meet a 36% water conservation goal by the State Water Resources Control Board. Staff believes this water conservation goal was set without appropriately acknowledging the efforts by the district to establish permanent water savings with the use of recycled water throughout the community. Currently, the community has recycled water infrastructure that has reduced the amount of drinking water needed to sustain the community during the next drought.
On Aug. 5, 2015, the board of directors authorized staff to proceed with the implementation of the recycled water filling station to meet the needs of customers interested in using recycled water for irrigation at their homes therefore Recycled Water Fill Station No. 1 was built. As of August 2020, the district’s customers have hauled nearly 4 million gallons of recycled water from Fill Station No. 1 to their homes.
“The pipelines are above ground but it is off to the side where the customers have been able to make use of this facility and continue to use this facility, not only during a drought but actually in recent times as well,” added Zoba.
To prepare for the next drought, the Yucaipa Valley Water District staff is considering a second recycled water fill station on district-owned property near the intersection of Wildwood Canyon Road and Fifth Street in Yucaipa. This facility would be designed to provide recycled water to customers that have received training for the safe use of recycled water at their homes.
Water Fill Station No. 1 has been active since late 2015. With the recent heat spell, Zoba said customers that utilize Station No 1. have been calling for more water. The last part of August 2020 was one of the best months ever for distributing recycled water to customers for their use since the opening of this facility.
Zoba added, “Given the activity on Fill Station No. 1, district staff wants to propose the construction of a second facility which we would call Recycled Water Station No. 2.”
This site would serve a number of new customers and also save some travel time for some of the current customers that use Fill Station No. 1. “Part of the concept moving forward is to temporarily close Fill Station No. 1 and relocate that infrastructure so that it is not as impacting on the operations up at the water filtration system facility,” said Zoba.
The district owns property off Fifth Street north of Wildwood Canyon Road. Intermixed with the district’s property is a small portion of land owned by another property owner. The district has entered into a developer’s agreement with the other property owner and the district agrees to clean up the boundary and both owners would work together to provide a common fencing and security along the northerly side of the district property.
Zoba said, “In concept the facility would look somewhat like a gas station. There could be a covered awning across the fill station. Customers would pull up and they would actually be able to fill up from either side. It would be highly visible from Fifth Street.
“This could also be used for recycled water for grading vehicles or water trucks. This could be a centralized area where a contractor could come in, load up its water truck and leave,” said Zoba.
The site would be fenced and users would come in with a key-card to utilize the fill station opportunities and then be able to leave.
Zoba added, “We know there will be another drought at some point in the future and if the district made this type of investment with our recycled water system it would likely be highly recognized when there is a drought and we would be able to illustrate what other agencies could do to make use of recycled water in our community.”
Once this site is up and running, the Water Fill Station No. 1 would be shut down and stop using it as a fill station and move it to a different area on the same site that would be similar to Water Fill Station No. 2 where customers could use key cards to come in and get their water and leave. There is no charge for the recycled water for the customers who come to the facility to pick it up. The directors decided to move forward with the project.