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North Bay Water Reuse Authority (NBWRA) Sub-Regional Project

Project URL link
Sponsoring Agency North Bay Water Reuse Authority (NBWRA), with Sonoma County Water Agency as the administrative entity
Subregions ('North Bay',)
Counties Marin County, Sonoma County, Napa County
Watershed Tributary
Public or private land? ()
Location (lat/lon)
Start Date 07/01/2014
End Date 10/31/2018
Location Description The NBWRP area encompasses approximately 318 square miles of land within Marin, Sonoma, and Napa Counties. This region extends some 10 to 15 miles inland of the tidal San Pablo Bay, with a total population of over 270,000 in the major urban centers of San Rafael, Novato, Petaluma, Sonoma, and Napa. A map of the NBWRA study area can be provided if requested. The specific projects included in this application are located in San Rafael (involving Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District [LGVSD] and Marin Municipal Water District [MMWD], Novato (involving North Marin Water District [NMWD] and Novato Sanitary District [Novato SD]), Petaluma (involving the City of Petaluma), Sonoma Valley (Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District [SVCSD]), and Napa (Napa Sanitation District [Napa SD]).

The North Bay Water Reuse Authority (NBWRA), established under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between 10 local agencies, undertook cooperative, regional planning efforts to develop the North Bay Water Reuse Program (NBWRP). The purpose of the NBWRP is to provide high quality recycled water for agricultural, urban, and environmental uses and to expand the recycled water system throughout the greater North San Pablo Bay Area. Implementation of the NBWRP includes upgrades of wastewater treatment processes and construction of storage, pipelines, and pump station facilities to distribute recycled water. The NBWRP will also reduce reliance on local and imported surface water and groundwater supplies and reduce the amount of treated effluent releases to North San Pablo Bay and its tributaries. 

Drinking Water Supply
Water Quality Improvement
Water Reuse/Recycling
Stormwater Improvements
Groundwater Benefits
Habitat Protection and Restoration
Flood Protection
Water Quality Improvement – The project reduces discharges of treated wastewater to North San Pablo Bay and increases tertiary-level wastewater treatment capacity in the North Bay. Water Reuse/Recycling – The project provides 6,000 – 6,100 acre-feet per year (AFY) of tertiary treated recycled water to the North Bay for municipal and agricultural irrigation demands in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa Counties, and habitat restoration of Napa-Sonoma Salt Marsh’s Ponds 7 and 7A. Groundwater Benefits & Infiltration – The Milliken-Sarco-Tulocay (MST) groundwater basin area east of the City of Napa relies exclusively on groundwater wells for both potable and irrigation water. That aquifer is estimated to be over-drafted by approximately 2,000 AFY. The Los Carneros Water District (LCWD) relies on groundwater and surface water for its potable and irrigation needs. This project will deliver up to 1,700 AFY of recycled water to these two areas, offsetting the same amount of groundwater (in the MST) and groundwater and surface water (in LCWD), thus contributing to groundwater preservation. Habitat Protection and Restoration – The project will provide 200 AFY of freshwater to the Napa-Sonoma Salt Marsh to restore bittern ponds in the Napa-Sonoma Salt Marsh. Flood Protection – A portion of the project’s supply may also be utilized to irrigate future horizontal levees in San Rafael that will protect sanitary district facilities, including the recycled water plant, from flooding and sea level rise.

Part 2 - Detail

The NBWRA Sub-Regional Project will provide 6,000-6,100 AFY of recycled water for municipal, environmental, and agricultural uses. The project includes 7.3 miles of distribution pipelines, rehabilitation of a 0.5-million gallon storage tank, 7.85 mgd of additional tertiary treatment capacity, relining 4,300 feet of pipe to allow for increased supply, and a significant upgrade to an existing pump station to enable service to two distinct distribution zones. The project offsets the use of potable water in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa Counties (Russian River water and groundwater), offsets surface water and groundwater used in Sonoma and Napa Counties to support landscape and agricultural irrigation, and also provides water for restoration of the Napa-Sonoma Salt Marsh. The Project components for grant funding consideration are part of the larger regional NBWRP included in the Bay Area IRWMP:

The specific components within this application include: 

  • LGVSD Recycled Water Supply Resiliency Project:  LGVSD will expand its Recycled Water Facility to supply MMWD's existing recycled water system. The project increases the tertiary capacity at LGVSD by 4 mgd, to a total of 5.4 mgd. This project would allow MMWD to distribute more recycled water to its existing irrigation customers (currently using potable water, 500-600 AFY) and increase the reliability of those supplies because of fewer operational and water quality issues from the new expanded plant. 
  • Novato Recycled Water Central Service Area Expansion The project will increase the tertiary capacity of Novato SD's Davidson Street Water Recycling Facility from 0.85 to 1.70 mgd. This includes the installation of a third sand filter module, and expansion of NMWD's recycled water facilities to serve additional schools, parks, homeowners’ associations, and a golf course by extending approximately 5.7 miles of 8-18” pipelines and rehabilitation of an out-of-service 500,000-gallon water tank. This project will expand recycled water delivery by 300 AFY and provide 200 AFY of potable water offset. 
  • Expansion of Petaluma Recycled Water System:  The project will increase the tertiary capacity of Petaluma’s Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility from 4.8 to 7.8 mgd, providing 3,300 AFY for expanding urban and agricultural irrigation. This includes the installation of a second sand filter module and addition of a third channel of ultraviolet lights for disinfection. The project includes expansion of the urban recycled water distribution to serve schools, parks, and greenbelts by extending a 16” pipeline 1.6 miles in northeastern Petaluma.  This project will provide an additional 51 AFY of potable water offset.  
  • Sonoma Valley Recycled Water Supply and Reliability Project:  SVCSD will reline a 24” reinforced concrete pipeline due to operational issues that are limiting the amount of recycled water that can be beneficially used. The new cured-in-place pipe will have an operating pressure of 100 pounds per square inch (psi) and will be able to withstand spikes of 300 psi. With the relining, SVCSD will provide an additional 200 AFY, a more reliable recycled water supply to be beneficially used for agricultural uses and habitat restoration.
  • Napa SD Recycled Water Pump Station North/South Split:  Napa SD has worked with Napa County and LCWD to extend recycled water service into the MST area to provide up to 2,137 AFY for landscaping and irrigation purposes, and across the Napa River to provide up to 1,800 AFY for landscaping and irrigation purposes.  The North/South Split is a necessary upgrade to accommodate the increased distribution of recycled water (up to 1,700 AFY), to manage the necessary water pressures, and to protect the new distribution lines from hydraulic transients. 

The project does not provide benefits to a DAC.

The North San Pablo Bay region of Napa, Sonoma, and Marin Counties faces serious long-term challenges in providing reliable water supplies. The area is not served by federal water projects, surface and groundwater sources are limited, and some local groundwater basins are over pumped. Urban, agricultural, and environmental demands, exacerbated by ongoing drought, exceed the region’s ability to provide a reliable, sustainable, and economical water supply. A clean, dependable water supply is also needed to continue the restoration of vital tidal wetlands at the base of the San Pablo Bay watershed that serve in a vital ecological role as nurseries for fisheries and wintering areas for migratory water fowl. The effects of climate change are further stressing the area’s water supplies with reduced diversions from the Russian River, unpredictable rainfall, and fluctuating temperatures. Agricultural land use is expected to remain relatively constant over a 20-year planning period, and all three County governments in the study area have explicit policies in place to protect agricultural lands.  The region’s wastewater treatment agencies have long faced strict limits on the timing and quality of the treated effluent they can send to San Pablo Bay. By treating wastewater to the strict levels required for reuse, these agencies can recycle the water in productive ways that augment local water supply and help protect limited potable water resources.  Drought conditions have increased recycled water demands and the capacity of traditional potable water supply diversions and conveyance from the Russian River and the State Water Project cannot be increased at this time. Increasing long-term concerns such as climate variability and degrading groundwater quality provide additional motivation for addressing future water needs in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa Counties. The goals for water and resource conservation in these county General Plans, and each of the NBWRA member agencies, include recycling and water conservation. The North Bay region has no new surface water or groundwater supplies, making recycled water an important component in meeting future water demands in the region. The NBWRA Sub-Regional Project will address the following Bay Area IRWMP priority regional needs: Reinforce/Enhance Water Supply Capacity – 6,000 – 6,100 AFY of new recycled water supply in the North Bay for municipal, environmental, and agricultural use, including potable water offset of existing surface water and groundwater sources that are strained. Regional Water Reliability/Long-term Sustainability – 6,000 – 6,100 AFY of new, drought-resistant, recycled water supply in the North Bay for potable water offset and agricultural use. The NBWRA Sub-Regional Project addresses long-term drought preparedness by offsetting potable water demands with recycled water and enhancing the overall regional suite of water supplies for the area's diverse water needs. Health of Bay and Creeks - 5,500 – 5,600 AFY of treated wastewater no longer being discharged to San Pablo Bay to reduce nitrogen/nutrient loading; provides 200 AFY of freshwater to restore former salt ponds in the Napa-Sonoma Marsh.  Protection of Water Source Areas - contributes to groundwater preservation in Sonoma and Napa Counties by providing over 1,700 AFY of new recycled water supply to offset groundwater currently used for both potable and agricultural demands. Climate Change – new recycled water capacity may be used to irrigate future horizontal levees that will protect LGVSD facilities, including the recycled water plant, from sea level rise and flooding impacts.  

Without implementation of the NBWRP, the North San Pablo Bay region will continue to face water supply shortages that will affect municipal and industrial customers, the agricultural industry, and environmental restoration efforts. The area’s limited surface water resources will be strained to provide sufficient local and imported supplies, and groundwater basins will be overdrafted, particularly in times of drought. Highly treated recycled water produced by the NBWRA facilities would not be put to the most beneficial use. 

Napa SD’s North/South Split component is a critical missing element to the distribution of 1,700 AF of recycled water to areas that currently draw water from overdrafted groundwater aquifers in Napa and Sonoma Counties. This project will offset these overdrafts. The proposed modifications are required for recycled water deliveries in order to project infrastructure by maintaining minimum pressures in the MST and LCWD distribution systems, providing instrumentation and controls necessary to interact with the MST booster pump station to ensure the connecting pipelines and new equipment are not damaged, and protecting the LCWD distribution system from hydraulic transients.

If Petaluma’s tertiary facility is not expanded, there will be insufficient tertiary recycled water to meet peak day demands for drought-sensitive agricultural users. Without expansion of the recycled water distribution pipelines, several schools and parks will not be able to utilize recycled water and continue to impose a significant demand upon limited potable water resources.


i. Water Supply (conservation, recycled water, groundwater recharge, surface storage, etc.)

The NBWRA Sub-Regional Project will provide 6,000 – 6,100 AFY of recycled water supply to the North Bay Area (800-900 AFY in Marin County, 3,500 AFY in Sonoma County, and 1,700 AFY in Napa County). This recycled water offsets potable water from: 1) the Russian River; and 2) groundwater in Napa County. The project will also take agricultural users off of strained surface water diversions from local creeks, and limited groundwater supplies in Sonoma and Napa Counties, where overdraft and saline intrusion are issues. The project will reduce peak potable water demands, reduce reliance on imported surface water, and reduce treated wastewater discharge into San Pablo Bay by 5,500 – 5,600 AFY. Recycled water from the project would be delivered starting in March 2016, with project completion by October 2018.

Also, expansion of the recycled water production capacity would allow the project to serve agricultural users that have played a vital role in the local economy for over 150 years. 

ii.  Water Quality

The NBWRP includes improved levels of wastewater treatment and reduced discharges of treated wastewater into North San Pablo Bay. The project will reduce treated wastewater discharge into San Pablo Bay by 5,500 - 5,600 AFY, reducing nitrogen/nutrient loading. LGVSD’s expanded use of tertiary treated effluent will assist in meeting its new NPDES permit no discharge requirements.

iii. Flood and Stormwater Management

The additional recycled water capacity provided by LGVSD’s plant expansion may be used to irrigate future horizontal levees that will protect LGVSD facilities, including the recycled water plant, from flooding impacts and sea level rise.

iv. Resource Stewardship (watershed management, habitat protection and restoration, recreation, open space, etc.)

The project will provide 200 AFY of tertiary recycled water to facilitate restoration of several of the former salt ponds at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Napa-Sonoma Marsh Wildlife Area. 


The NBWRA Sub-Regional Project expects to have a benefit-cost ratio similar to other recycled water projects recently undertaken in the North Bay Area. The project can you provide project benefit/cost analysis information for the Prop 84 application.

Increases Water Supply Reliability
Advances/ Expands Conjunctive Management of Multiple Water Supply Sources
Increases Water Use and/or Reuse Efficiency
Provides Additional Water Supply
Promotes Water Quality Protection
Reduces Water Demand
Advances/Expands Water Recycling
Promotes Urban Runoff Reuse
Addresses Sea Level Rise
Addresses other Anticipated Climate Change Impact (e.g. through water management system modifications)
Improves Flood Control (e.g. through wetlands restoration, management, protection)
Promotes Habitat Protection
Establishes Migration Corridors
Re-establishes River-Floodplain Hydrologic Continuity
Re-introduces Anadromous Fish Populations to Upper Watersheds
Enhances and Protects Upper Watershed Forests and Meadow Systems
Other (Please Describe)
Increases Water Use Efficiency or Promotes Energy-Efficient Water Demand Reduction
Improves Water System Energy Efficiency
Advances/Expands Water Recycling
Promotes Urban Runoff Reuse
Promotes Use of Renewable Energy Sources
Contributes to Carbon Sequestration (e.g. through vegetation growth)
Other (Please Describe)
(low) - (high)
Drought Preparedness
Use and Reuse Water More Efficiently
Climate Change Response Actions (Adaptation to Climate Change, Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Reduce Energy Consumption)
Expand Environmental Stewardship
Practice Integrated Flood Management
Protect Surface and Groundwater Quality
Improve Tribal Water and Natural Resources
Ensure Equitable Distribution of Benefits
Reduce Reliance on the Bay-Delta
Reduce Water Demand
Improved Operational Efficiency and Transfers
Increase Water Supply
Improve Water Quality
Improve Flood Management
Practice Resources Stewardship
Other Strategies (Please Describe)
Groundwater Management Plan
Urban Water Management Plan
Water Meter Requirements
Groundwater Monitoring Requirements
AB 1420 Compliance
BMP Compliance
CEQA Compliance
Water supply reliability, water conservation and water use efficiency
Stormwater capture, storage, clean-up, treatment, and management
Removal of invasive non-native species, the creation and enhancement of wetlands, and the acquisition, protection, and restoration of open space and watershed lands
Non-point source pollution reduction, management and monitoring
Groundwater recharge and management projects
Contaminant and salt removal through reclamation, desalting, and other treatment technologies and conveyance of reclaimed water for distribution to users
Water banking, exchange, reclamation and improvement of water quality
Planning and implementation of multipurpose flood management programs
Watershed protection and management
Drinking water treatment and distribution
Ecosystem and fisheries restoration and protection
Reduced Reliance on the Bay-Delta
Projects that directly address a critical water quality or supply issue in a DAC
Urban water suppliers implementing certain BMPs as on page 17 of Guidelines
Be designed to manage stormwater runoff to reduce flood damage (PRC §5096.827)
Be consistent with the applicable Regional Water Quality Control Plans (Basin Plans) (PRC §5096.827)
Not be a part of the State Plan of Flood Control (SPFC) (PRC §5096.827)

Project team

Part 3 - Benefits