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Phase One of the Recycle Water Program

The Redwood City Recycled Water Project will be implemented in multiple phases over the next several years, beginning with some recycled water delivery (beyond that already delivered under the First Step Project) in the 2006 irrigation season. Phase One will include commercial portions of Redwood Shores and the Greater Bay front areas.

In early 2002, the City Council of Redwood City, California began planning for the development of a citywide recycled water system to address the very real possibility of severe water shortages in coming years. In the context of other water reuse projects in Northern California, the Redwood City project is modest in size (2,000 acre feet per year for the initial project) and quite typical in its proposed use of the water – landscape irrigation and industrial processes. The City had already implemented a small, successful recycled water project, called the “First Step Project,” with the South Bayside System Authority (SBSA), a joint powers authority that provides wastewater treatment and disposal (to San Francisco Bay) for the cities of Redwood City, Belmont, and San Carlos, and the West Bay Sanitary District. The SBSA treatment plant produces recycled water treated to meet the unrestricted use standards as defined by the California Department of Health Services Water Recycling Criteria, and is the source of Redwood City’s recycled water.

While the Redwood City Recycled Water Project was being studied the project faced opposition from a group of citizens who objected to use of the recycled water, particularly in areas where children play. In the fall of 2003, the City Council directed the creation of a professionally-facilitated and consultant-staffed Recycled Water Task Force, with the purpose of exploring different ways to achieve the City’s water supply goal while avoiding schools and playgrounds.

The community Recycled Water Task Force met for several months and on March 22, 2004, the City Council considered submitted Task Force’s recommendations, accepted their final report and efforts with great enthusiasm, and directed City staff to return with required implementation actions. A copy of their report is available in the Reports/Documents section of this Web site listed under Supplemental Studies.

The Council expressed its intent to meet the water supply needs of the community, and to do this in full accord with the Task Force recommendations. In July 2004, the City Council approved an agreement with SBSA for the production and delivery of recycled water, moved forward with final design of the system, and authorized the establishment of a project office in Redwood Shores.

Other Potential Measures (OPMs)
Recognizing that future potable water supply and demand may be different than estimated, the Task Force also recommended that the City investigate and/or implement ten Other Potential Measures (OPMs), which are identified as potentially effective ways to further reduce potable water demand. As appropriate, these measures will be included in the Phase One Program.

The City is committed to implementing a successful long-term recycled water project that includes a proactive and responsive informational outreach effort to the entire community including residents, businesses, site landscaping managers, and schools and parks.

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