If you are like most people, you don’t think much about the water flowing from your kitchen faucet. But, at Tesoro Viejo, a lot of thought and planning went into that water.
In fact, Tesoro Viejo stands out from many other master-planned communities in our area because of its on-site permanent water and wastewater treatment facility. The innovative Tesoro Viejo Master Mutual Water Company (TVMMWC) is a state-of-the-art water and wastewater treatment facility that provides clean potable water for the entire community and is operated by California Water Service company (Cal Water). Cal Water, formed in 1926, is the largest regulated American water utility west of the Mississippi River and the third largest in the country.
The primary source of water for the community is surface water purchased from the Madera Irrigation District that operates a distribution system of about 300 miles of open flow canal systems, as well as 150 miles of pipelines. Surface water is the most reliable water source since it is not primarily dependent on groundwater pumping for the community. Cal Water operates and maintains the potable freshwater, recycled water, wastewater, storm waters, and agricultural system for the 1,600-acre site.
“We designed the drainage of the community to complement the natural drainage of the site to capture water,” said Brent McCaffrey, president of Tesoro Viejo. “This is significant because we are able to increase groundwater basin levels, essentially giving back more than is used.”
Including a back-up water basin with emergency water storage for a year, the impressive water system includes over 2.5 miles of raw water pipeline, a 1.5 MG potable water pressure-regulating reservoir tank, and efficient pump stations to deliver filtered and ultraviolet disinfected potable water throughout the community. The wastewater plant uses membrane bioreactor and ultraviolet technology to produce recycled water that is used in our community common space irrigation systems.
Tesoro Viejo completed the first of several phases of the water facility prior to opening the development, and the permanent facility will be expanded as the community continues to grow. This is a significant benefit to the residents and commercial tenants of Tesoro Viejo since it is not dependent on any temporary plant operations similar to other communities in the area. At full build-out, the facility will serve 5,190 homes, three million square feet of industrial and commercial space, schools, parks, and several open spaces and trails.
Water conservation is a main component of the community’s design. This can be seen in water conservation efforts in the design of individual homes, using materials and fixtures that preserve water like showerheads and low-flow plumbing. Drought-tolerant landscape throughout the community and weather-smart irrigation controls also contribute to the water conservation efforts.
The overall physical design of the community takes advantage of the natural drainage course to capture water for treatment and reuse. And, let’s not forget about those purple pipes. Blue pipes are for drinking water – or potable water – and purple pipes are for recycled water used to irrigate all public landscape. The purple pipes carry reclaimed wastewater that undergoes filtration and disinfection treatment before being reused for irrigation at the neighborhood parks and community landscape.
“It is important to us that we are good stewards of the land,” McCaffrey said. “Our water conservation efforts and our on-site water treatment facility help to preserve and protect this important natural resource, while servicing the water needs of the community.”