Sacramento To Start Irrigating Farms With Treated Waste Water

Sacramento’s Sewer District just won a grant that will allow them to build pipelines to local farms, and use recycled wastewater as irrigation.

By DAVID on July 25, 2018
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Yep, the poop water we all flush gets cleaned, recycled, and used to grow our food! Ok but for real, it’s a complicated process that really cleans the water and removes bacteria and particles.

It’s no secret that California needs all the water we can get. We don’t really get rain, snow only happens up in elevation and only for a couple months a year. We have to count on that to refill our reservoirs, and we drive dirty cars a majority of the summer to save what’s left. But California is also a HUGE source of grown food. We’re America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, after all. And all those farms have to water their plants, drought or not. That’s a LOT of water. Like, a lot.

So what’s a possible answer? Well, we flush a lot of water down the drain, literally. We already take some of that water and send it through a treatment facility. Yes, it’s gross to think about, but treated waste water is dispensed into the river. So using it for farm irrigation makes sense, since the groundwater source is in short supply. Sacramento’s sewer district was given about $280 million as part of a bond to make good use of that water. It’s apparently not quite safe enough to drink, but fine for irrigating farms. So rather than dumping it back into the river, they’re going to build a new pipeline to move the water out into the county where it can be used by farmers. Read more about the process here.

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