Water from Visalia’s Water Reclamation Facility should be enough to irrigate Valley Oak Golf Course, Plaza Park each year
By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
VISALIA – As the deadline for groundwater sustainability approaches in California, one Tulare County city has taken another step toward eliminating its need for landscape irrigation.
At its Aug. 19 meeting, the Visalia City Council approved a notice of completion to replumb the waterlines used to irrigate the Valley Oaks Golf Course to carry recycled water instead of groundwater. The project installed 2-inch potable water lines and 8-inch irrigation lines at four locations throughout the golf course, with backflow preventers and water elevation sensors to separate drinking water from mixing with irrigation water. Now the Club House and water fountains will be on a completely separate water system from the golf course’s irrigation lines and pipelines to fill up the water features on the course. The additional pipelines to separate the two systems cost $22,451 over the original construction contract with American Incorporate for $289,000. Despite the change order, the project still came in under budget by about $98,000 overall.
It was the final step of a plan to irrigate 264 acres of grass between the golf course and the adjacent Plaza Park with recycled water from the City’s Water Reclamation Facility (WRF). The facility uses an innovative yet elaborate three-step treatment process to remove solid waste and sanitize bacteria from waste water to create nearly drinkable water. The state-of-the-art WRF converts the billions of gallons of waste water generated by Visalia homes, offices and businesses into 13,000 acre feet of almost potable water per year. About 1,300 acre feet of recycled water will be split between the golf course and Plaza Park, which the city estimates is enough to offset all of the irrigation needs for the two areas per year.
About 85 percent of the recycled water per year is earmarked for the Tulare Irrigation District in exchange for surface water from the irrigation district. Since 2016, Visalia has received enough surface water from TID to offset one year of groundwater pumping for the entire city. The rest of the recycled water will be used to irrigate landscaping in medians and along highways.