The South San Joaquin Irrigation District, in conjunction with the cities of Manteca, Escalon, Lathrop and Tracy, form the South County Water Supply Program. This cooperative endeavor has been successful in addressing a common need. With cities relying heavily on groundwater, they became vulnerable to the declining groundwater levels and the increasing salinity of the underground aquifer. This region-wide water supply program was established and has achieved its four goals: (1) to protect and enhance the economic health of the region by providing reliable, safe supplemental water to the cities; (2) to use conserved surface water from SSJID to avoid adverse impacts to current agricultural customers; (3) to meet local needs by keeping adequate water in the region; and (4) to reduce the area’s reliance on groundwater. The program is mutually beneficial to all parties involved and all share in the financing. SSJID supplies the water and the cities compensate the District accordingly, which has resulted in no fiscal impact to SSJID irrigation customers.
Coming together over twenty years ago, SSJID and the cities allied themselves in an attempt to balance the agricultural and urban needs concurrently. The planning, environmental, and engineering phases of the project took place between 1997 and early 2003. Gaining public support and involvement was a key aspect, with efforts beginning in 1998 and continuing throughout the final pipeline and facility construction. The Water Treatment Plant and pipeline construction phases extended from July 23, 2003 to mid-2005. The first water deliveries took place in June 2005. In July 2005, the South County Water Supply Program celebrated its momentous achievement in dedicating the plant to the late SSJID Board Director Nick C. DeGroot. Currently delivering to Manteca, Tracy, and Lathrop, the Water Treatment Plant is expected to connect to Escalon during Phase II of the project, set to take place in a few years.
The state-of-the-art Nick C. DeGroot Water Treatment Plant operates under the Zenon 1000 Submerged Membrane System. The multi-barrier treatment approach removes most of the particles and further protects public health during a disinfection process. The water comes from SSJID’s Woodward Reservoir and is clarified through a dissolved air floatation process. It then moves into the membrane filtration system. The California Department of Health Services granted this process the highest rating for removal of giardia and cryptosporidium.
The Water Treatment Plant can process approximately 40 million gallons per day (MGD). In addition to the 37 miles of transmission pipe, which are capable of holding 14 MGD, there are four pump stations and three large storage tanks along the pipeline. The pump stations deliver water from the pipeline to the city water lines, while the storage tanks are capable of holding one million gallons of water. During Phase II of the project, one pump station and two additional tanks will be added.
The South County Water Supply Program provides water to over 155,000 residents. The Nick C. DeGroot Water Treatment Plant is fully staffed with highly qualified individuals. Together, they are committed to successfully meeting the area’s domestic water needs.