California’s Turlock and Ceres Residents Get Treated River Water After 30 Years

Turlock and Ceres residents are finally drinking treated water from the Tuolumne River. Officials gathered at the plant, which reduces the cities’ reliance on wells. Hefty rate increases starting in 2018 are covering most of the $220 million cost. The ribbon-cutting came after 30-plus years of off-and-on discussion about the project.

 “High-quality drinking water is now flowing to our communities that are so much in need of a long-term solution to the declining groundwater levels and increasingly stringent water-quality regulations,” Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez said. The Turlock Irrigation District is selling part of its river supply to the plant, just east of the Geer Road Bridge. According to advocates, less pumping by the cities will mean a more abundant aquifer for farm and urban users alike.

 To start, Ceres expects to meet about a third of its demand from the plant. Its first water ran through a pipeline along Hatch Road. Turlock plans to get about half of its water from the Tuolumne at first. Deliveries began this afternoon through a pipeline mostly along Berkeley Avenue

 Plant General Manager Christopher Fisher said customers should expect a somewhat “softer” taste as the river and well sources are blended. That refers to trace minerals in the water.

 The plant can produce 15 million gallons of water daily. Future funding could bring the capacity to 45 million. Nearby cities could get their own shares of the water if they pay some of the cost.


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