How Pasadena wants to use recycled water to increase its water supply
|<b>February 23, 2016</b> - A long-awaited plan to use recycled water in Pasadena was approved on Monday night by the Pasadena City Council. The project is "long overdue" in the words of Mayor Tornek.|
The $50 million project could take 20 years to complete, with a pipeline running from a proposed reservoir in Scholl Canyon in Glendale to one at Sheldon Reservoir near the Brookside Golf Course. It would increase Pasadena’s local water supply by about 10 percent, officials said. FILE PHOTO
A recycled water project started in 1993 moved forward Monday night as the Pasadena City Council approved the environmental review of a plan to funnel water from Glendale.
The $50 million project could take 20 years to complete, with a pipeline running from a proposed reservoir in Scholl Canyon in Glendale to one at Sheldon Reservoir near the Brookside Golf Course. It would increase Pasadena’s local water supply by about 10 percent, officials said.
“It is quite clear that the situation we are in with regard to water supply is not improving in anyway that we hoped it would,” said Shari Thomas, Pasadena Water and Power’s interim general manager. “This is really a new water source for Pasadena and it might in fact be our only opportunity to secure a new water source that we can count on.”
The council approved the matter in a 5-1 vote, with Councilman Tyron Hampton objecting and Councilman John Kennedy absent.
Thomas said the project is the “lowest cost, the lowest risk and the greatest chance” of providing more water for the city. While it would not produce drinking water, the recycled water would lessen the existing demand from golf courses, parks and other large open spaces. The city expects the new water source would reduce its reliance on the Metropolitan Water District, which currently provides about 60 percent of the city’s water. The non-potable water project would bring the split closer to 50-50, officials said.
“These actions will move this non-potable water project forward to the final design phases and even more importantly move us into line and keep us there for many, many funding opportunities that are available that were not available in the past,” Thomas said.
That could include grants or low-interest loans from the state and federal government, she said. Pasadena paid more than $6 million to Glendale starting in the 1990s for capital improvements to increase their capacity to handle Pasadena’s needs, but the pipeline between the cities was never built, largely for economic reasons, Thomas said.
The proposed project includes water from the Los Angeles-Glendale Reclamation Plant, as well as streams and tunnels in the Arroyo Seco and Devil’s Gate areas, according to a staff report.
The city continues to fall short of its efforts to cut its water consumption by 28 percent from its usage in 2013. The most recent numbers show the city significantly lagging behind its goals. This new water supply might be crucial in the future, as just conserving clearly isn’t enough, particularly as the drought continues, said Councilwoman Margaret McAustin.
“Who knows what the future holds,” she said.
Councilman Tyron Hampton voted against the matter, stating that he did not think the city came up with enough alternatives to the current plan which could impact neighborhoods in his district.
Residents in opposition expressed concerns the project could lead to loud construction, torn up streets, damage to trees, and the disturbance of a native American burial site along the pipeline’s route. While some residents might suffer more inconveniences than others, Mayor Terry Tornek stressed that everyone benefits from this project.
“It’s a project that is long overdue in my judgement,” Tornek said.
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