Building on the past, securing Roseville’s water for our future

Water sprinkling carts, 1911Since purchasing a private water company back in early 1900s, Roseville has continued its track record of comprehensive water planning to maintain the quality, reliable services customers have grown to expect. 

Roseville’s inception was a result of the railroad boom, but the need for utility services helped build this community along the way, and continued utility service expansion is necessary for maintaining economic vitality and quality of life.

In the face of water supply challenges related to changing weather conditions and increasingly stringent State regulations, we have embarked on the Roseville Water Future Initiative -- a proactive, comprehensive planning effort to diversify water supplies and maintain a high level of reliability for years to come.

The Roseville Water Future Initiative is examining all water supply options to determine what could work. We will ensure that we can work through all regulatory hurdles – but just as important – build an investment strategy that includes funding mechanisms to cover any costs should a project component become viable.

We are taking a long-term, holistic approach to plan our overall “water strategy” to serve our community through 2050, when our population will grow to nearly 300,000 residents. This approach to planning ensures we have a range of options that we can pursue based on their best potential for success – so which options provide the best return on investment for Roseville ratepayers and reduce potential threats in the future. We are taking this comprehensive effort now because water infrastructure projects take many years to evaluate and construct.

Although Roseville’s water supplies are more reliable than many California communities, factors creating uncertainty over how much water we can use are growing.

Where we are, where we are going

Folsom lake

For the past 20 years, we've been proactively looking at ways to increase the reliability of our water supplies by diversifying our sources of water and maximizing these supplies locally.

Having all water infrastructure – water, wastewater, recycled water, stormwater – under one integrated utility service allows us to be more innovative and cost efficient because we can manage water at every stage of use. Today, we have an expansive water supply portfolio that meets the needs of our community.

Increased water supplies

We have increased our surface water supplies through partnerships with nearby water agencies to supplement our existing contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for water from Folsom Reservoir. The balance of our water resources comes from contracts with Placer County Water Agency and San Juan Water District. Given weather patterns, the assignment of water from the Central Valley Project has changed year-over-year for the past five years, making this supply less reliable.

Groundwater recovery and replenishment

In the early 2000s, Roseville began expanding its groundwater program to augment surface water supplies and store surplus surface water in our “underground reservoirs” during wet years.

Today, we have six active wells but we intend to add more capacity over the next 10 years.

This combined use strategy, known as conjunctive use, increases water supply reliability for our community, for the region, and assists with maintaining a sustainable groundwater basin.

More on our groundwater efforts

Water recycling

Roseville has a robust water recycling program that purifies approximately one billion gallons of water per year to irrigate landscapes and keep ball fields, parks, and golf courses green.

We have extensive recycled water networks in the City, primarily in West Roseville. We also use 180 million gallons per year of recycled water in the City’s power plant cooling system and about 80 sites (like parks and street medians) are beneficiaries of this water.

Using recycled water for these purposes preserves drinking water for people.

New storage and treatment projects

Roseville is currently active in the development of long-term projects, such as the new Ophir Water Treatment Plant and Sites Reservoir, to make more surface water available for a variety of urban and environmental uses.

Although some of these projects will capture, store, and treat water for delivery outside of Roseville to meet State regulatory demands, these projects will provide additional flexibility and free up water for use in Roseville.
Sites Reservoir

Despite growing our available local supplies through our partnerships with other water agencies, outside forces can still dictate how much water we're allocated and can use.

What’s clear is that ensuring water reliability for Roseville will require us to do even more to diversify water sources, use water efficiently, and build water infrastructure under the city’s control. For these reasons, we are looking at a range of potential options that represent “best practices” from other communities.

Additional surface water supplies

Roseville will continue to evaluate its ability to develop surface water supplies by participating in infrastructure projects (Ophir Water Treatment Plant, Sites Reservoir) to relieve overall pressure on water supplies for communities in our region.

Groundwater program expansion

We will be evaluating what steps we can take – consistent with new groundwater laws – to augment our ability to store water in the groundwater basin so that it is available as another source when needed.

Our goal, as part of our groundwater strategic plan, is to more than double the number of well sites we have. Right now, we have six Aquifer Storage and Recovery well sites and will look to diversify where they are located throughout the city to maximize use of groundwater throughout our entire service area.

More on groundwater

Advanced treatment

Despite our successful water recycling program, recycled water distribution for irrigation currently requires dedicated pipe networks. Also, we cannot store a significant volume of recycled water when irrigation demands are low to use when they are higher. As a result, only about 20 percent of our treated wastewater is converted into recycled water.

Many communities are using advanced treatment technologies to purify water for storage and other uses. While we aren’t pursing an active project at this time, Roseville is in the early stages of evaluating these technologies to determine compatibility with our water treatment and delivery systems as well as how they might provide further redundancy and flexibility for our community.

This is vitally important as the need for increased treatment and changes in discharge requirements evolve over time.

Water-use efficiency

We will continue to partner with our businesses and residents to maximize efficient use of water through newer appliances and water-efficient landscapes.

During the drought, Roseville residents reduced water use by more than 36 percent (it’s steady at 17 percent compared to 2013 usage currently) and adopted water-saving habits that will continue to provide water savings into the future.

Efficiency is part of managing our overall demand, and we will do so in compliance with current and future state water use requirements.

More on our water-use efficiency program