Recycled Water Documents

City of Santa Rosa > Departments > Water > Recycled Water
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The Subregional System is a National Leader in Water Reuse
Diverse and Innovative Uses Make for a Unique and Flexible Approach

What is recycled water? Where does it come from? Simply put, recycled water is wastewater that’s highly treated through multiple levels of disinfection and treatment. This high quality water is safe for the irrigation of crops that are eaten raw, vineyards, playgrounds, golf courses, parks, cemeteries, freeway embankments, and street medians. It is also frequently used in industrial processes, decorative fountains, fire suppression systems and much more. This water comes from wastewater which is created when we use showers, toilets, sinks, dishwasher and washing machines.

Recycled Water is Safe

The recycled water in Santa Rosa is treated to California State Water Board Division of Drinking Water standards and is monitored by state, local and federal agencies. The result is clean and safe water that can be used for irrigation, industry and agriculture (but not for drinking).

Where is it Used?

Santa Rosa has been using recycled water for over 40 years. In one of the largest recycled water systems in the world, about 98% of the City’s tertiary-treated recycled water is used to irrigate approximately 6,400 acres of agricultural lands and public and private urban landscaping, and for the Geysers Recharge Project to generate electricity.

Urban Reuse

In recent years, the City has used approximately 140 AFY of recycled water for landscape irrigation within the service area. In Santa Rosa, recycled water is used for landscape irrigation at 26 Urban Reuse sites, including Finley Park and A Place to Play Park. Urban reuse has been a high priority for the City because of its dual benefits: 1) decreasing the demand on potable water supplies and 2) providing an environmentally friendly method of application for tertiary wastewater generated at the Subregional Laguna Treatment Plant.

In addition, The City's Subregional System delivers recycled water for landscape irrigation to urban sites in Rohnert Park. The Subregional's existing urban reuse program currently includes the irrigation of many schools, parks and businesses in Rohnert Park including Sonoma State University.

Future of Recycled Water in Santa Rosa

Due in part to the City's success in reducing drinking water demands and the water conservation practices, the City has determined that it is not cost effective to expand the recycled water distribution system. However, the City continues to evaluate other potentially more cost-effective water supply sources for future water supply needs.





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