Recycled Water Program
Recycled water remains a critical component of the District supply portfolio, particularly during drought as every drop of recycled water used extends potable water supplies. The District provides approximately 1,000 AF of recycled water per year, primarily for irrigation (Each acre-foot contains 325,900 gallons and provides approximately two years of water to an average family of four in Goleta Valley). Since 1995, the District has served recycled water for irrigation and restroom facilities through a partnership with the Goleta Sanitary District. Using recycled water for irrigation and other non-potable uses helps to conserve our potable water, improving supply reliability and keeping costs lower for customers.
The Goleta Water District (District) provided recycled water customers with new signage aimed at educating the public on the role of recycled water in preserving potable water supplies, and in helping the District meet Water Shortage Emergency Regulations. The signs alert the public to the fact that recycled water is used for irrigation and water features as part of ongoing conservation efforts under the Water Shortage Emergency. The State already requires signage where recycled water is in use notifying the public that the water is not to be used for drinking purposes. The new signs complement existing recycled water health and safety signs to highlight the role of recycled water in conservation efforts and to clarify that potable water is not being used for irrigation purposes during drought.
The signs are posted at parks, golf courses, UCSB and on other landscaping that uses recycled water. Letting customers know the Goleta Valley is actively using recycled water is important as everyone is being asked to cut back. The public should know that these properties using recycled water are doing their part to preserve water for drinking water, health and human safety.
District crews actively work to ensure the recycled system receives the regular maintenance needed to ensure reliable delivery. The District is exploring opportunities for additional recycled water use consistent with District permits and regulatory requirements. Opportunities for expanded recycled water use include selling and hauling of recycled water for irrigation, construction, and dust control purposes either inside or outside of the District service area.
The largest recycled water customers are UCSB, and several golf courses in the area. UCSB utilizes recycled water for 90% of its campus irrigation, which saves approximately 19.5 million gallons of potable water every year.
The Goleta Sanitary District provides Tertiary Treatment which creates super-clean recycled water that meets stringent quality requirements. Recycled wastewater is produced by treating secondary effluent to the tertiary level. Secondary treated water is mixed with special chemicals that cause remaining particles to clump together. It is then filtered with carbon, and finally disinfected with chlorine to kill bacteria.
The District investment in water supplies, infrastructure, and ongoing conservation has resulted in both a robust and diverse water supply portfolio and the lowest per capita water use on the South Coast. Recycled water is a key component of the District’s water supply portfolio.