Last week, the Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Committee on the Natural Environment (CONE) brought together water experts from around the community to discuss bringing recycled water to the Ranch.
The discussion was carried out by representatives of number of local agencies, including members from the Santa Fe Irrigation District, the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club, and the San Elijo Water Treatment Plant.
The meeting was largely an informational one. Each agency present provided an overview of their general approach to providing water to their constituency. The committee has already decided to set up another meeting for mid-March.
Said CONE member Sioux Colbourne, “This was the first meeting, just to get ideas out and start a dialogue for our future needs; to bring recycled water to the whole Covenant, not just the golf club.”
“Hopefully, over time, we’ll get to all kinds of solutions,” said CONE chair Bill Beckman. “Collaboration is what we need at this point. There are facilities and maybe things that are expensive, but we need to consider which resources are the best and figure out how to get funding. We will never have an opportunity like we have today … the timing is right.”
Present at the meeting was Joey Randall from the Olivenhain Municipal Water District. Olivenhain is a neighborhood located in the city of Encinitas. Randall said that the district delivers almost 2 million gallons of recycled water daily. The district has also recently received bids of $8 million to $10 million to bring recycled water to the Village Park community of Encinitas.
The hope is to construct 7.6 miles of pipelines to bring water to schools, parks, and 19 homeowner associations’ common areas and golf course. The challenge, of course, is funding.
Mike Bardin from the Santa Fe Irrigation District provided an overview of the district’s water supply. 30% of their water comes from Lake Hodges, 65% is imported, and only 5% is recycled water. He discussed how water districts are entering a new era of developing alternative supplies at the local level rather than relying on imported water.
Bardin’s district has been studying how to bring recycled water to the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club for years, but the price of the project (at least $20 million) has made progress difficult.
“We’ve got this thing figured out; it’s the funding that we’re working on,” Bardin said. He mentioned that they are going after $50 million of federal funding alongside the 10 agencies in the North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition.
In the meanwhile, Bardin suggested that the Rancho Santa Fe community make significant efforts to get water usage down. In light of the statewide drought, it’s a suggestion to be taken seriously by many.