Water is one of our most precious resources. Many California cities and water districts struggle to obtain sufficient water to sustain their growing populations and economies. Whether in time of plenty or drought, cities and water districts state-wide face a never-ending challenge to acquire, treat and distribute water to customers. American Canyon is no exception.
In California, some cities are fortunate to rely on their own reservoir, river or well for water. Here in American Canyon, though, the City purchases nearly all our water from the State Water Project. Designed, constructed, operated and maintained by the California Department of Water Resources, the State Water Project collects water in 21 reservoirs and distributes the water throughout the state using more than 700 miles of canals and pipelines. The State Water Project supplies water for 25 million Californians and 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland.
Lake Oroville is the largest State Water Project reservoir with a capacity of 3.5 million acre-feet of water. From Lake Oroville, water travels down the Feather and Sacramento Rivers to the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. The Delta is a 700-mile maze of sloughs and waterways serving as the distribution hub for the State Water Project. Most of the Delta water either flows into the San Francisco Bay or moves through the California Aqueduct on its journey to southern California.
As it heads toward Napa and Solano counties, water from the North Bay Aqueduct begins its 27-mile journey at Barker Slough. The North Bay Aqueduct ends in several large water tanks adjacent to our water treatment plant on Jamieson Canyon Road.
The cities of American Canyon and Napa share the water in these terminal tanks. Since the raw, unpurified water comes straight from the slough, it contains lots of organic particles. With the help of gravity, water continuously transfers from the terminal tanks to our water treatment plant. It’s then processed in one of our two treatment systems. One uses conventional sand and carbon filtration, while the other uses state-of-the-art membrane filtration. Regardless of which system is utilized, the end result is always the same – clean, safe water that meets or exceeds state and federal clean water standards.
Once treated, the water flows down a pipe following Highway 12 to the west, then Highway 29 to the south. The water is stored in the main holding tank located on the top of Oat Hill just west of American Canyon City Hall.
Every year approximately 980 million gallons of clean, drinkable water leaves the last holding tank and travels through a complex system of distribution pipes leading to more than 5,400 homes and businesses in our community.
Water conservation is important for our future. Long-term water sufficiency is not just a challenge during times of drought, but also when rain and snow are plentiful. Sustained water conservation, new technological advances in treating recycled water, and locating new sources for additional water supplies are all part of the solution in the coming years.
Every drop of water that makes its way to your tap from the mountains is precious. It is up to all of us in American Canyon to continue to do our part and be water smart!