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CEE 269C EnvEng Seminar - Dave Richardson: Incorporating In-lieu groundwater recharge of recycled water into seasonal storage and habitat enhancement projects. Case Study: Harvest Water in Sacramento Valley, California

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Abstract: As we address variable hydrology in the West, and especially in California, the need for water storage to address drought conditions is pressing.  Climate change impacts on weather (precipitation and temperature, and storm patterns) and snowpack (which is a huge reservoir throughout California) further exacerbate the need for storage, both above ground and below ground.  Conjunctive use of groundwater and surface water, including flood flows and highly treated recycled water, provides promising methods for utilizing the groundwater basins underlying California for increased storage.  Conjunctive use using in-lieu recharge (bringing in surface water to complement groundwater pumping) to increase groundwater storage is being fulfilled through the Harvest Water Program, located in southern Sacramento County (overlying the South American GW Subbasin) where a 100 mgd, 50,000 acre-foot/year recycled water project, with recycled water treated to Title 22 unrestricted reuse standards, will be providing “surface water” to farmers for agricultural irrigation and habitat creation, allowing an equivalent quantity of groundwater to remain in the underlying groundwater basin.  The key to funding this program is the multiple benefits provided by the program to groundwater-dependent ecosystems, including Sandhill Crane forage and roosting habitat, wetland habitat, streamflow supporting fall-run Chinook Salmon and vernal pool habitat. The program design is almost complete and construction has commenced in 2024.


Bio: Dave Richardson is a Stanford alumnus who received his BS ’80, MSCE ’81 and MBA ’85.  Dave is an environmental and water resources engineer and Senior Program Manager with Woodard & Curran (formerly RMC Water and Environment).  He spent his first 2 decades working in wastewater and recycled water for CH2M HILL, and the last 2 decades at RMC/W&C implementing water resources and recycled water projects.  He is looking forward to meeting his fellow Stanford water enthusiasts!