The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Committee on the Natural Environment (CONE) Could Bring Recycled Water to RSF

This article was originally posted on the RSF Review

Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Committee on the Natural Environment (CONE) brought together an impressive collection of water experts on Jan. 26 to speak on the challenge of bringing recycled water to the Ranch via “the purple pipe.”

The meeting included representatives from several local agencies: Mike Bardin from the Santa Fe Irrigation District; Deb Plummer and Chuck Duffy from the RSF Community Services District; Al Castro and Tim Barrier from the RSF Golf Club; Kim Thorner and Joey Randall from the Olivenhain Municipal Water District; and Mike Thornton from the San Elijo Water Treatment Plant.

“This was the first meeting, just to get ideas out and start a dialogue for our future needs; to bring recycled water to the whole Covenant, not just the golf club, ” said Sioux Colbourne, a CONE member who helped bring all the “heavy hitters” to the table. “Solana Beach has (recycled water), why don’t we?”

Rancho Santa Fe Association board member Philip Wilkinson said it was important to bring everyone to begin to develop a road map and find solutions.

“Hopefully, over time, we’ll get to all kinds of solutions,” said CONE chair Bill Beckman. “Collaboration is what we need at this point. There are facilities and maybe things that are expensive, but we need to consider which resources are the best and figure out how to get funding. We will never have an opportunity like we have today … the timing is right.”

The committee plans to bring the same group together for another meeting in mid-March, yet to be scheduled.

The meeting was largely informational, with each agency providing an overview of its approaches to providing water to their constituency.

As Randall reported, the Olivenhain district delivers nearly 2 million gallons of recycled water daily. The district has just received bids of $8 million to $10 million to bring recycled water to the Village Park community of Encinitas. The hope is to construct 7.6 miles of pipelines to bring water to schools, parks, street landscaping, 19 homeowners associations’ common areas and golf course — Randall said the challenge, as always, is funding.

Bardin discussed the Santa Fe Irrigation District’s water supply: 30 percent comes from Lake Hodges, the local water supply they’ve had the rights to since the 1920s; 65 percent is imported; and 5 percent is recycled water.

Bardin said the district’s goal is to manage its supply as cost-effectively as possible, keeping their portfolio diverse and keeping the costs down.

“Our main imperative is to protect Lake Hodges,” Bardin said, noting that they have some of the lowest rates in the region primarily because of those local supplies.

He said water districts are entering a new era of developing alternative supplies at the local level rather than relying on imported water… (Read the full story on the RSF Review)