In the ground underneath town, Healdsburg city crews reportedly just began construction this week on a $7 million, 2-mile pipeline that will deliver recycled sewer water to local parks, some schools, the golf course and the cemetery. This will allow the city to easily use this wastewater, which they treat with UV light and keep in a big pond just south of town — instead of using perfectly good Russian River water, or having to truck over wastewater from their treatment plant bit by bit. This whole first leg of the pipeline is funded by a 2022 grant from the state’s Department of Water Resources. City officials have since applied for $8.5 million more in state funding to eventually add another 2.7 miles of pipeline to the system, but they’re still waiting to hear back. For those of y’all who live in town, and miss the free recycled water deliveries you got during the Drought of 2021, I think I know what you’re wondering: Can we all tap into this fancy new pipeline to water our gardens? Not exactly — but there’s some good news on that front. “While the line will not provide direct hookups to residents,” the Press Democrat reports, “a public fill station for recycled water, which isn’t potable [aka, drinkable], will be available at a to-be-determined location along Healdsburg Avenue before the end of the year.” Woot! City officials are maintaining a schedule here of expected road closures during construction, which should last at least through the end of this year. Here’s some more info on the project from the city’s website: “Healdsburg currently gets about 80% of our water supply from the upper Russian River, making us particularly vulnerable to supply shortages in Lake Mendocino. Approximately 20% of the City’s water supply is from Dry Creek derived from Lake Sonoma. With that in mind, we have been working on the Municipal Recycled Water Pipeline to offset some of the demand on our potable water resources and make us more resilient for future droughts. During non-drought years, the project will allow more water to remain in the streams and reservoirs, benefitting riparian ecology and the region. The funded pipeline project will serve municipal turf areas and can offset demand of potable water by approximately 27 million gallons per year, or about 4% of current demand. The City has applied for another State grant ($8.5 million), which will offset an additional approximately 8 million gallons of potable water usage per year. This would increase the total potable water offset to approximately 35 million gallons per year, or about 5% of current demand.” The pipeline project is just one of a few big initiatives that the City of Healdsburg currently has in the works, in an effort to stay resilient during drought years. Another is a proposed set of “aquifer storage and recovery wells” situated at the Healdsburg Community Center, Badger Park and a spot on West North Street. That way, we could supplement our existing supply with coveted groundwater — a move that would increase Healdsburg’s water supply by a projected “60 million gallons per year, or 9% of current demand.” That project would cost a whopping $12.5 million, so city leaders are trying to tap both state and federal officials for the funds. (Source: City of Healdsburg & City of Healdsburg & Press Democrat & Sonoma County Gazette & Healdsburg Tribune & California Dept. of Water Resources)

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Simone Wilson was born and raised in Healdsburg, CA, where she was the editor of the Healdsburg High School Hound's Bark. She has since worked as a local journalist for publications in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York City and the Middle East. Simone is now a senior product manager and staff writer for the Healdsburg Tribune.


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