Local News

Tuesday, Oct 22 2013 06:00 AM

Directors discuss water study, new pipelines

A study that will improve the future of water in the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water Basin won approval from two of the seven stakeholders earlier this month.

This is according to water district General Manager John Martin, who conducted a meeting on Oct. 27, with all of the interested parties in the Cummings Valley groundwater basin.

Several dry years and a shrinking water supply have spurred Martin to seek approval to conduct a groundwater modeling study, which will cost $129,980, equally split three ways between the district, agricultural pumpers and municipal and industrial pumpers, with each group contributing $43,327.

The new data the study would produce will be used to help better understand the Cummings Valley basin and assist in more accurately calculating the safe yield of the basin -- a term used to express the amount of water an aquifer or well can yield for consumption without producing unacceptable negative effects, such as contamination by induced infiltration, decreased flows or overall lowering of the water table.

"I think the meeting was well received," Martin said. "Two down, five to go."

Among other items discussed at October's board of directors meeting was the construction of two separate pipelines that would transport 500 acre-feet per year of disinfected tertiary recycled water from the California Correctional Institution to two growers in the Cummings Valley.

The first pipeline would stretch 3,000 feet from the prison to a pond on Ha Apple Farm, capable of delivering all of the 100 acre feet a year that the apple grower requires. The cost is estimated to run between $55,000 and $100,000.

The second pipeline would also run from the prison to Tehachapi Turf, south of Cummings Valley Road, and would be used to irrigate hundreds of acres of sod and alfalfa.

The cost of laying the pipeline, which is estimated to extend a distance of 8,000 feet, would be somewhere between $250,000 and $350,000.

The deal, according to Martin, would consist of the district footing the bill for constructing the pipelines, with the district reimbursed from the sale of recycled water to both farming outfits along with a surcharge over some period of time to cover the construction costs and any financing charges.

"This would allow us to offer a long term water source for a cheaper price," Martin said.

The payback period is estimated to be approximately three years.

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