One way we manage our water supply is by recycling the water that we use. The greater Fresno area has an abundance of wastewater – water that has been used for washing, flushing, or that finds its way down the drain. We treat about 68 million gallons of wastewater every day at the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility (RWRF) – enough to cover the area of a football field more than 15 stories high! This is 68 million gallons of recycled water we can count on to help supplement certain water needs.
The RWRF treats wastewater to a level that meets strict regulatory standards before it is recycled. Some farmers lease land within the RWRF boundaries and use the direct effluent to irrigate non-food crops such as alfalfa, Sudan grass, sorghum, and silage corn. In addition, neighboring farmers connect to the final effluent system to take this recycled water to their land and crops. In 2013, the RWRF provided approximately 9,406 acre feet (or 3.06 billion gallons)of recycled water (direct effluent reuse) to farmers.
The rest of the recycled water is sent to 1,700 acres of ponds to percolate into the ground. Groundwater underneath the RWRF is extracted using a network of reclamation water wells built in 1975.
With additional treatment, recycled water can become a valuable resource – used in place of potable water for non-potable applications such as the irrigation of freeway landscaping, nurseries, industrial applications, etc. – thus preserving our higher quality water for other essential uses.