Recycled Water Latest

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   September 27, 2018

Montecito Water District’s (MWD) Strategic Planning Committee met September 20 to review the highly anticipated draft Recycled Water Feasibility Study and discuss feasible projects. The issue of recycled water in Montecito has been in the news of late, due to the ongoing drought as well as an election in November wherein there are multiple seats up for grabs at MWD and Montecito Sanitary District (MSD).  

Woodard & Curran was hired to conduct the study, half of which was funded by a grant awarded to the District by the State Water Resources Control Board. Rob Morrow of Woodard & Curran gave a presentation to directors Dick Shaikewitz and Floyd Wicks, plus district staff including general manager Nick Turner and engineering manager Adam Kanold. Representing the Montecito Sanitary District at the meeting were board directors Robert Williams and Warner Owens and engineering manager Carrie Poytress. Members of the public also attended the meeting, including candidates running for seats at MWD and MSD.

Morrow explained that since wastewater is the source of recycled water, collaboration with a wastewater entity (Montecito Sanitary District) is essential to any recycled water program. Turner commented that relations with the MSD are positive, adding, “We are all working together in support of this. The Sanitary District recently passed a resolution regarding their commitment to recycled water; I have attended their last two board meetings, and you can see their presence here today. It’s happening.”  

The District’s Urban Water Management Plan identifies recycled water as a long-term local reliable supply and commits the District to add 1,000 acre-feet of this source to its annual water portfolio by 2025. Contracting the study was a vital step in moving from discussions about recycled water to creating an actionable plan, according to MWD staff. 

The study evaluated nearly 30 possibilities, identifying quantity, source, and project type. The three project types include Non-Potable Reuse (NPR), which is recycled water produced for end uses such as irrigation; Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR), which involves injecting recycled water into the groundwater aquifer and later extracting that water from a separate location; and Direct Potable Reuse (DPR), which includes treating wastewater for direct delivery through pipes and treatment plants. There are multiple considerations for prioritizing specific projects, including cost, customer commitment, public acceptance, regulatory risk, potable water source to be offset, implementation flexibility and timeline, and integration with other future District water plans. 

The committee asked for several items in the study to be clarified or further addressed. The draft report is expected to go before the board at its November 20 meeting. The calendar, agendas, and packets for all board meetings can be found on the District website:


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