Whittier Daily News, CA July 2, 2009

Pico Rivera to use recycled water on plants

By Bethania Palma, Markus Staff Writer

PICO RIVERA – In an effort to conserve, the city is moving toward recycled water for irrigating lawns and other landscaping on municipal properties.

The Central Basin Water District in conjunction with L.A. County and the city will begin construction later this year on a recycled water project that will save about 84 million gallons every year.

“It’s a major step in water resource management,” said Pico Rivera Public Works Director Al Cablay. “We don’t have any choice any longer. We have to take these proactive steps.”

California has been in the midst of a drought for about three years, and officials are scrambling for ways to conserve.

Further complicating the shortage, a judge ruled in 2007 to cut water pumping from the San Joaquin-Sacramento River delta – a major source for Southern California – to protect the endangered Delta smelt.

In general the majority of water use goes toward watering landscape, and Art Aguilar, Central Basin general manager, said an effective way to cut water use is to use treated water to keep plants and grass green.

“With recycled water (Pico Rivera) will be able to keep the parks in good shape and not use potable water,” he said. “They will be saving water in a drought and at the same time saving potable water. It’s a win-win conservation technique.”

Construction on the project along Mines Avenue is expected to begin in September, officials said.

The city and Central Basin will be taking advantage of an L.A. County project to lay pipes between the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel river spreading grounds, officials said.

A county spokesman said the project is expected to take about 11 months to complete. Most of the digging will be in a flood channel adjacent to the road but there will be some on the street as well.

“They’re kind of piggy-backing on some of the work we’re doing,” said Gary Boze, county public information officer.

The county’s pipeline will allow transfer of water from rainfall from one site to another.

“This will save the city money,” Aguilar said. “More so than that, we’ll be saving water.”