UC Davis has decided to drink from the same tap as Davis and Woodland, which have embarked on a project to supplement their wells with water drawn from the Sacramento River. Now the pipelines carrying treated water to Davis will deliver to the campus, too.
This has always been a possibility, dating back to 1994 when the university partnered with the cities in a water rights filing for the surface water project. In 2009, UC Davis transferred its water-rights interest to the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency, while retaining an option to buy 2,000 acre-feet as treated water.
“After extensive analysis and careful consideration, the campus decided to exercise its option,” Sid England, assistant vice chancellor for Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, said July 18. “The advantages to the campus are clear, including improved quality of water, less reliance on groundwater and an additional supply of water far into the future.
“A high quality, reliable water supply will support campus teaching and research for many generations.”
The water intake and the treatment plant are under construction. Pipeline construction to Davis and the university is scheduled to begin in April 2015, and the first water deliveries are expected by September 2016.
The project upon launch will deliver 30 million of gallons of water per day, allocated as follows: 18 million gallons for Woodland and 12 million for Davis. The Davis share includes 1.8 million gallons, or 6 percent of the total, for UC Davis.
UC Davis paid its share of the project planning costs until September 2009 when the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency came into being. Now, UC Davis will make a capital expenditure of $20 million as the university’s share of overall project costs not paid previously, and for distribution pipelines and other facilities to serve the campus.
Total project costs from 2009 forward are estimated at $228 million, down from the initial engineering estimates of $350 million.
“We are very excited that UC Davis has decided to exercise its option to participate in the surface water project,” Davis Mayor Dan Wolk said. “Continued campus participation reinforces the strong ties between the university, Davis and the greater Yolo community and reduces facility costs for the other partners, particularly the city of Davis.”
With UC Davis’ sharing the costs, the city of Davis will save $11 million and Woodland will save $1.2 million.
Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor, who like England is a nonvoting member of the water agency board, said: “UC Davis’ leadership during the early planning of the surface water project helped make it the reality it is today. Their full participation further strengthens this important regional effort.”