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North Coast County Water District Drought Preparedness and Water Conservation Plan

Project URL link
Sponsoring Agency North Coast County Water District
Subregions ('West Bay',)
Counties San Mateo
Watershed Tributary
Public or private land? ()
Location (lat/lon) 37.630269,-122.489882
Start Date 01/01/2015
End Date 12/31/2017
Location Description The Plan has four sub-projects which are all located in the District's service area within the City of Pacifica in San Mateo County.

The North Coast County Water District Drought Preparedness and Water Conservation Plan ("Plan") is designed to increase water conservation in response to the current drought and in anticipation of on-going and future drought conditions.  The Plan will yield multiple benefits including increased water supply reliability, reduced dependence on regional imported water, conjunctive use of surface and groundwater, and overall improved water conservation within the District’s service area.

Drinking Water Supply
Water Quality Improvement
Water Reuse/Recycling
Stormwater Improvements
Groundwater Benefits
Habitat Protection and Restoration
Flood Protection
Elements of the Drought Preparedness and Water Conservation Plan (“Plan”) support the following project types: Drinking water supply: The Plan includes multiple elements which would reduce demands on existing drinking water sources and diversify future drinking water supplies. Water reuse/recycling: The Plan includes a Recycled Water Enhancements and Improvement sub-project which would increase recycled water use and decrease potable water demands. Groundwater Benefits: The Plan includes a sub-project to develop a new groundwater source for the District. Habitat Restoration: The Plan includes potential development of new groundwater and desalination water supply sources which could reduce demands on surface water sources, thereby increasing water available for stream habitat.

Part 2 - Detail

The North Coast County Water District ("District") is proposing a project concept referred to as a “Drought Preparedness and Water Conservation Plan”, and consists of multiple sub-projects, each being actively pursued by the District to meet and reduce water demand during periods of drought, and to provide operational flexibility and increased reliability for the District. 

The District’s Plan consists of four sub-projects (A through D), each discussed below: 


A.        Pipeline Replacement Program

In 2013, the District initiated a study to develop a 20-Year Water Master Plan and Capital Improvement Program (“CIP”).  A pipeline replacement program was identified and included as a high-priority CIP project, and the District’s study identified specific pipelines which present the greatest risk for leaks and failures.  The District has many pipelines in its system which are older asbestos-cement (“AC”) pipes and which are prone to leaks.  The goal of this sub-project is to replace the oldest and most critical pipelines in the water system. 


B.         Supplemental Groundwater Supply

This sub-project involves siting, permitting, engineering, and construction-related activities associated with obtaining supplemental groundwater supplies in the District’s service area.  This includes possible construction of exploration well(s) and a new groundwater production well(s).  The District is evaluating possible sites for construction of a new groundwater well on parcels owned by the District.  The funding requested for this sub-project will be utilized for the cost to construct a groundwater exploration well and a production well, including engineering, permitting, and construction costs. 


C.        Regional Desalination Feasibility Study

Serving a coastal community, the District is investigating the feasibility of working with neighboring communities, including Daly City, San Bruno, Montara Water District, and Half Moon Bay, for example, to explore the costs and benefits of constructing a regional desalination treatment plant.  This sub-project involves the cost to coordinate a regional study, led by the District, which would investigate potential sites for a desalination plant and expected costs and yields. 


D.        Recycled Water Enhancements and Improvements

The District has a partnership with the City of Pacifica to utilize recycled water from Pacifica’s Calera Creek Recycling Plant & Collection System.  The District receives recycled water from the plant and has constructed a recycled water pipeline and storage tank to supply recycled water to some District customers.

The District plans to expand recycled water use in its southern service area.  Recently, the District made improvements to the Calera Creek plant, including adding pumps and valves.  The next phase of recycled water expansion is to convert more potable customers to recycled water.  The District is considering the potential for new recycled water service for the following locations:

·    Terra Nova High School

·    Ortega Elementary School

·    Alma Heights School

·    Oddstad Soccer Fields

An additional component of the District’s Recycled Water Enhancement and Improvements sub-project is collaboration with the SFPUC to increase recycled water use for the Sharp Park Golf Course.  

Scalability: Projects A and D are highly scalable pending funding availability.  These projects can be done in phases to address the highest priority pipelines/customers in earlier phases.

The District serves a population of approximately 39,000 people.  The District purchases its water supply from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (“SFPUC”), which provides water from its Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and local Bay Area watersheds in the Sunol area and on the San Francisco Peninsula.  Regional Need: Reduced dependence on SFPUC water supply If the District increases conservation and develops its own local water sources (groundwater and/or desalination), it could be less dependent on the water supply from the SFPUC system and increase supply reliability through diversification.    Regional Need: Improved reliability and emergency supply for District and neighbors In addition, the District has emergency interties with three neighboring water districts:  City of Daly City, the City of San Bruno and Westborough Water District, which also purchase water from the SFPUC system.  An increase in water supply reliability for the District, and increased water conservation potential, could also serve to improve reliability for these neighboring districts during emergencies.   Operational/Reliability Needs :  The District’s water supply allocation from the SFPUC is delivered through a single pipeline that is approximately 4.2 miles in length, and is aligned along the San Andreas Fault.  Because of this, the District’s source of supply and that pipeline are highly vulnerable to seismic activity.   The District’s Plan includes elements that would increase water supply reliability and diversify supply sources so as to lessen its vulnerability to an outage of the SFPUC supply.     Water Supply Needs :  In addition to its supply from the SFPUC, the District holds surface water rights to San Pedro Creek, located within its service area.  However, the San Pedro Creek surface water rights are limited and represent only 8% of its total water supply allocation from the SFPUC.  The District has a need to diversify its water supply sources for improved flexibility and adaptability during drought conditions and climate change.    Conservation/Water Demand Needs :  Current drought conditions, and the potential for persistent future drought conditions, make the need for conservation critical.  The District’s Plan has sub-projects which would increase conservation by reducing leaks and by reducing demands.  The pipeline replacement project would reduce leaks in older pipes.  The recycled water project would replace potable consumption with recycled consumption, thereby reducing potable demands.  Potential new water sources (groundwater, desalination), would reduce demands on surface water sources of supply.

Without implementation of these projects, the District will be primarily reliant upon the SFPUC for its entire water supply.  The District receives this water through a pipeline aligned along the San Andreas Fault, making this supply vulnerable to seismic activity.  Though the District has interties with neighboring water districts, these districts are also primarily dependent upon the SFPUC for their water supply.  Having a diversified, local supply of water would improve emergency scenarios.

If future drought conditions persist and worsen, without this Plan, the District would have few alternatives for water supply should the SFPUC’s supplies be limited.  This Plan includes potential development of groundwater and desalination; without these options, the District will be primarily dependent on the SFPUC.

Without this plan, opportunities to create significant increases in conservation may be limited.  Recently, the District has implemented public education programs, rebate programs, and mandatory restrictions to promote conservation.  Such programs will continue in the future. However, the conservation opportunities presented in this Plan (replaced pipelines, increased recycled water usage) represent more significant strategies for improving conservation.

The District’s Plan will achieve multiple benefits.  Plan sub-projects support the management strategies in both the “Water Supply and Water Quality” and “Wastewater and Recycled Water” functional areas identified in the BAIRWMP.  

Water Supply Benefits:  The Plan’s benefits include increased water conservation, diversification of water supply sources, improved emergency water supply reliability, reduced reliance on surface water, and reduced reliance on imported water.  The sub-projects of the Plan target a reduction in potable water consumption through conservation of 10-15 million gallons per year, which could potentially be realized with pipeline replacements (sub-project A) and increased recycled water usage (sub-project D).  Additional conservation of surface water resources on the order of 100 million gallons per year could potentially be realized through in-lieu use of supplemental groundwater supplies (sub-project B) and desalination (sub-project C).  Preliminary estimates for the total potential water savings represent about 10% of the District’s average annual water demand.

Resource Stewardship Benefits: Development of alternative water supply sources (groundwater, desalination) would reduce demands on surface water resources, potentially benefitting stream habitat quality.  

Other: These projects are also collectively anticipated to reduce District staff time and resources used to repair pipelines; reduce demand on the SFPUC water supplies; and reduce costs to the District to purchase water from the SFPUC. 

Benefit/Cost Ratio:  The District estimates a benefit/cost ratio of 1.1 or better is achievable over the life of the sub-projects.  A more rigorous benefit/cost analysis may be provided should the District be invited to move forward in the Bay Area IRWMP process.            

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