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The City of Davis is determining financing options for its portion of the water intake and treatment plant, but it will likely be 30-year bonds.
In 2009, the cities of Davis and Woodland formed the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency (WDCWA), a joint powers authority responsible for building and operating a regional surface water supply project. The project will include a water intake facility on the Sacramento River, a regional water treatment facility, and new pipelines for water conveyance. Davis’ cost share of the project facilities is estimated at $156 million, although aggressive cost-savings activities and refinements to project plans may reduce costs.
The regional surface water supply project will bring customers softer water, ensure water supplies are reliable in the long-term, and help guard against potential land subsidence and the associated impacts and costs. The new water source may taste better to some customers and be easier on appliances, household plants, and landscaping. This water will be lower in salts and other constituents.
A 2007 Environmental Impact Report identified the surface water supply project as the environmentally superior alternative.
In December 2010, WDCWA purchased a site on the Sacramento River for an intake facility that will be jointly constructed, owned, and operated with Reclamation District 2035, provided that outside funding is provided. Otherwise, WDCWA may construct its own intake facility. The State Water Resources Control Board approved WDCWA's rights to 45,000 acre feet of Sacramento River water in March 2011. WDCWA has purchased the permanent rights to 10,000 acre feet of surface water from the Conaway Preservation Group, for use during times when diversions would not be allowed under WDCWA's own water rights. Design of the intake structure and water treatment facility is underway, and final environmental work is being completed.
For more information on the regional surface water project, visit a wdcwa.com.
Water from Lake Berryessa water was only available in the 1950s and 1960s, and at that time the City chose not to participate in water rights acquisition. Water from Lake Berryessa is fully allocated and is no longer an option for the City of Davis.
timeline was developed to account for the environmental permitting and construction processes. The design-build-operate approach will help to deliver the project in a timely fashion.
The primary objective is to provide a reliable, sustainable, high-quality water supply for Davis. It will also improve water quality that will meet or exceed all current and future anticipated water quality regulations. All water regulations are driven by public health and environmental standards.
Yes. Visit the Woodland Davis Clean Water Agency’s website: www.wdcwa.org/documents.
Project alternatives, along with other documents, can be found on the Woodland Davis Clean Water Agency’s website: www.wdcwa.org/documents.
Both. The project is designed to provide water supply reliability and improve water quality. Additionally, it will improve the quality of treated wastewater discharge.
Three large design-build-operate (DBO) firms have been pre-qualified and must compete for the project. Contracts will include provisions for local hiring.
That level of contractual detail has not been determined.
At this time, the City plans to use 30-year tax exempt bonds. It will also work through the JPA and independently to pursue state and federal grant funding, and low-interest loans for local improvements.
Bond financing starts when the City acquires bonds.
Untreated surface will be transported through 36-inch pipes to the treatment plant.
The City has been testing Sacramento River water at the location of the intake facility for several years. The water treatment plant will be designed specifically designed to address and treat constituents found in the River water.
Yes. Gravity will transport treated water to the water treatment facility, then it will be pumped to the cities.
Davis has recognized an immediate cost savings by partnering with Woodland, sharing costs that would otherwise be borne entirely by Davis. The initial phase of the water treatment facility has been sized for near-term water use projections. The City has also closely monitored other cities transition from a single water source and has learned from choices made. Using the design-build-operate and proposing to construct during this competitive bid time are also cost saving measures being utilized.
All charges have been factored into the proposed water rates.
Yes. The permit was issued to the Woodland Davis Clean Water Agency and includes provisions for 45,000 acre feet per year, to be shared by Woodland and Davis.
Each water provider has its own contracts outlining the amount of water used and the costs. The Woodland Davis Clean Water Agency obtained very competitive pricing on the Conaway Ranch water of $260 per acre foot of water. After 23 annual payments, the JPA will own the water outright and will no longer be obligated for payments.
The cost of the project could increase or decrease, but staff has planned a contingency should the costs actually change. The exact cost will be determined once competitive bids from contractors have been received.
As the final cost is determined, water rates could be adjusted. The water rates as approved by Council are the maximum possible rates that could be imposed.
University of California, Davis is a participating agency, but does not hold voting rights. UC Davis has the opportunity to buy into the water supply project.
The City will pay its share based upon the final project costs, which include portions of the regional water treatment plant and intake structure, the cost of the infrastructure to transport treated water to Davis customers, and improvements to local facilities (pipelines, for example).
The permits require the permit holder to use the water for beneficial use. If the water acquired through the permit is not used, it would no longer be considered “beneficial use” and the permits could be revoked.
There is an administrative cost to apply for the permit, but once obtained there is no cost to divert the water from the Sacramento River. Costs are only associated with the construction, treatment, and distribution of the water.
The City of Davis Council uses a growth rate of one percent for planning, and that was also used for the project.
DBO stands for Design Build Operate. This process allows all phases to take place simultaneously, thus reducing costs and time. The engineer will design the plant, with input from the contractor that will build it and the operator that will operate it. All members of the DBO team work together to ensure efficiencies.
Not at this time. In 2009, the City tried unsuccessfully to obtain federal funding. The City and the Woodland Davis Clean Water Agency will continue to seek outside funding.
The State requires water to be used for reasonable and beneficial use. A delay could result in a reevaluation of the permit.
Yes. During peak use, specifically in the summer, the surface water will be combined with small amounts of groundwater to meet demands.
The City will continue to use the surface water and combine it with a small portion of groundwater from the deep water aquifers as needed, giving Davis the flexibility to meet demands.
Conjunctive use in relation to water means combining water from different sources, like surface and groundwater, for beneficial use.
Yes. Treated surface water will be provided to all City of Davis water customers.
Because regulations are increasing more stringent, the City of Davis must consider current and future regulations and plan accordingly. The City employs risk management strategies to allow for the ability to retrofit facilities to meet future regulations.
Davis Public Works Department provides free leak checks to single family residential customers. Please call (530) 757-5686 during business hours to request a free leak check.
Not yet, but soon. The City is changing to an automated meter reading system that will allow for online account and water use review.
The City will continue to use the deep aquifer wells to supply peak demand in the summer months. A portion of the rate increase is dedicated to current system upgrades and deferred maintenance. Intermediate wells could be used for irrigation of public areas. However, using wells alone will not meet the City’s long-term objectives of improving water supply reliability, water quality, and treated wastewater discharge. Additional modifications would have to be made to the wastewater treatment plant, increasing the cost of that project.
Using deep wells will not allow the City of meet its long-term objectives for improving water supply reliability, water quality and treated wastewater discharge. Currently, the City operates six deep wells and 15 intermediate wells. The intermediate wells pose more challenges for the City as they have more salinity and other constituents that affect the City’s wastewater discharge. Another problem associated with relying on wells is that the City is operating a single-source system. Should something happen, the City does not have a second source of water to provide to its customers. And, the deep aquifer is also used by UC Davis. It’s unknown exactly how much water, and for how long, it is naturally available from that aquifer.
Approximately 2-3 percent of Davis water is used for drinking.
It’s replenished by runoff from the Vaca Mountains. If we continue to drill into the deep aquifer, we run the risk of using more water than is being replenished.
Surface water has lower hardness levels than groundwater, which the City currently uses.
Yes, and opportunities for incidental use are being explored. On a large scale, it is cost prohibitive because a delivery system would need to be installed to each water user throughout the City. In other cities where recycled water is used, the City planned for it and included the “purple pipe” water delivery system at the time of construction. That was not done in Davis. However, the City is exploring opportunities for use of reclaimed water.
The City has taken the position that it does not want to regulate the use of water softeners. Instead, it prefers to provide residents with the information necessary to make educated decisions.
The goal is to have the water supply project online in 2016, and at that time the need for water softener use will decrease.
The City completes test wells prior to drilling and will not construct wells in areas where water is not found. The purpose of test wells is to ensure that water will be reached when the final well is drilled.
The University of California, Davis uses the same deep well aquifer as the City of Davis. No other jurisdictions currently use the aquifer.
Research is inconclusive, but it does demonstrate that Davis and UC Davis share the same deep aquifer, and that the City’s use of that aquifer impacts UC Davis.
Approximately 2,000 acre feet.
Approximately 12,200 acre feet.
The Woodland Davis Clean Water Agency has obtained permits to divert up to 45,000 acre feet of water from the Sacramento River each year. Of that, the City of Davis can use up to 20,000 acre feet annually.
No. The City commissioned a study to ensure that the City will meet target goals for softer water once surface and groundwater are combined. This will eliminate the need for water softeners.
The City is studying various ways to reduce water use on City property. City parks are one of the largest users and irrigation wells are a possibility for future use.
The State Water Resources Control Board has authority over water allocation and water quality protection of California’s waters.
The State Water Resources Control Board allocates use and establishes policy, and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board establishes and enforces regulations.
The State Department of Public Health sets requirements for all water entering a home regardless of how the water user chooses to use the water.
No. All State and Federal regulations are currently met.
That is a wellhead treatment facility, part of the City’s well 32. Water from that deep well exceeds maximum contaminant levels for manganese. The tanks are part of a manganese removal system that was required at the site.
Manganese will be transported to land near the WWTP for drying and ultimately disposed at the landfill.
City of Davis water currently meets all State and Federal guidelines. However, the City has had problems with several wells in recent years and those have been taken out of commission. Having a second water source will provide greater water reliability for Davis.
The City currently operates 21 wells, 6 of which tap into a deep water aquifer.
Approximately 1,600 feet deep.
The total O&M costs for the City will increase with the addition of the surface water treatment plant. The cost for Well O&M will be reduced because we will be decommissioning some wells, but Davis’ share of the O&M cost for the surface water will be around $4M annually.
No. The cost per gallon of water using the reverse osmosis system is approximately $0.13 per gallon, but the cost per gallon of water from the surface water project is approximately $0.01.
City staff and elected officials have met on many occasions with staff from the Board, and will also continue to communicate with the State about reasonable requirements. A Regional Control Board staff member attended the June 30 Woodland Davis Clean Water Agency Board meeting to discuss requirements.
The presentation can be viewed: http://www.wdcwa.com/board/board_meeting_videos/.
The Central Valley State Water Regional Control Board representative was improperly quoted in the Davis Enterprise article. He has indicated that the City of Davis could apply for an extension on the collection of fines, but would still be required to comply with regulations in a timely manner. Additionally, we could not guarantee that an application would be approved. An extension would be difficult to justify because the City of Davis has a viable, environmentally superior solution through the surface water project, and is not an economically disadvantaged community by state standards.
No. Salinity levels are based on annual averages.
Sanitary sewer revenues pay for the operations and maintenance of the collection system (pipes and pump stations that transport the wastewater from homes and businesses to the wastewater treatment plant), the wastewater treatment plant, and the administrative and regulatory costs to run the system. In addition, sewer rates support infrastructure investments, such as necessary system improvements to meet new regulations.
The City’s current National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency and State Water Resources Control Board) requires the City to make significant changes to its wastewater treatment plant in order to meet more stringent discharge requirements.
Over the last six years, the City has worked to identify the most cost-effective and prudent method for meeting the new discharge requirements. The nearly $100 million investment at the wastewater treatment plant will upgrade the plant to tertiary treatment so that the City can provide cost-effective wastewater services to its customers and protect public health and the environment.
The sanitary sewer service rates are comprised of two components:
The fixed monthly charge is determined on the basis of the customer's classification. The variable charge is determined on the basis of each property owner's water use during the winter months because individual sanitary sewer flows are not metered; winter month's water usage best reflects actual flows into the sanitary sewer system, when outdoor water use is least likely to occur. This indicator of flow to the sewer is then applied to the variable cost of sewer operations. The variable charge is capped. If your average bi-monthly winter water use exceeds the cap, your sanitary sewer ccf charge shall be based on the cap.
Since the water meter measures total water entering a property, winter water usage is used to estimate indoor water use during the months of November through February when outdoor water use is much lower.
Currently, salt is not removed at the wastewater treatment plant. Doing so could cost twice as much as constructing the surface water treatment plant. Surface water is much, much lower in salinity than the City’s groundwater.
The City is already using this method and will use a more advanced version in the future.
The existing wastewater treatment process needs to be updated from overland flow system because it will not meet future regulations. The changes are based on public heath, impact to the natural environment, and protecting downstream water users. The upgrade will allow the City to produce a higher quality wastewater effluent which is necessary to meet current and future regulations.
Construction is slated to begin in 2013 to capitalize on the current construction market.
Yes. The wastewater treatment plant upgrades could be different if the surface water supply project is not completed. The wastewater treatment plant upgrades would likely be much more expensive because groundwater would be used instead of the lower salinity surface water.
Approximately 5 million gallons of water daily.
High salinity greatly impacts agriculture as well as many aquatic species.
Yes. Davis’ treated wastewater is discharged into the Yolo Bypass and ultimately may reach the Delta because it is hydrologically connected.
The City is already providing incentive based billing for wastewater rates. Half of the wastewater rate is fixed, and the other half is based on water consumption. So, less water used would result in a lower wastewater bill.
Yes. The rates account for increased conservation.
Yes. The City is always looking for more conservation outreach opportunities. Currently, the City provides free workshops and provides free home water use evaluations. Upcoming conservation workshops are listed on the City’s website: http://cityofdavis.org/.
The City of Davis is a leader in water conservation. For example:
The City will continue to encourage water conservation and provide educational opportunities to residents and businesses. Conserving water will also help reduce bi-monthly water rates since a portion of water rates is based on water use.
Call (530) 757-5686 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or visit cityofdavis.org for more information on these and other utility services.