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Home > Feature Articles > Landscaping

Agricultural Water Reuse Project Meets Public Objections

Wine industry and farmers are skeptical about recycled water for farming provided through the North Sonoma County Agricultural Reuse Project.

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A public hearing to provide local opportunities for comment on the North Sonoma County Agricultural Reuse Project that would create 19 reservoirs and 112 miles of pipeline through the Dry Creek, Alexander and Russian River valleys was held in May 2007. Water Agency officials say primary customers are the vineyard operators of some of the county's premier grape growers that comprise almost half the 47,000 acres covered under the project.

During a 90-minute public hearing on the north county water recycling supervisors heard vineyard operators say they are firmly opposed to putting recycled water on their grapes and farmers say they feared it would damage groundwater quality.

Leaders of environmental groups such as Russian River Keeper, the Sierra Club and the Russian River Watershed Protection Committee said using recycled wastewater is a laudable goal, but they could not support the project because there's not enough evidence that treatment plants filter out chemical compounds that could appear in crops and groundwater.

The water reuse project is part of the Water Agency's effort to convince state regulators that the county is making best use of current supply and, therefore, should gain approval for more water from Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino reservoirs. The Water Agency proposed a smaller-scale recycled water project for Sonoma Valley last year, but its water was aimed more at lawns, fields and open space than agriculture.

However, Cynthia Murray, president of the North Bay Leadership Council, a business group, said agriculture elsewhere in California is making use of recycled water with no problem.

Read full article at The Press Democrat



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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