Can Gilroyans use recycled water for irrigation?

Red Phone

There are a number of sanitation districts that are making treated water available to use for irrigation. I would like to set up a system at my place to use treated irrigation water, but have not heard anything about availability from either Morgan Hill or Gilroy. Does either city have any plans to make the water available? If not, what about Hollister, or another local city? It would be nice to be able to have a back lawn again.

Red Phone:

Good caller, Red Phone is reluctant and sad to report, that there is no recycled water for you or any other good resident of Gilroy, nor will there be any in the foreseeable future. We will all need to rely on Mother Nature to save our lawns. Red Phone contacted Gilroy’s Environmental Programs Manager, Saeid Vaziry, and posed these questions:

Do any residential neighborhoods currently receive or have access to recycled water through the pipeline? Vaziry said, “No.”

Are there any plans to provide recycled water for residences in Gilroy using pipelines? Vaziry said, “No.”

Can anyone get recycled water at distribution points? Vaziry said, “No.”

But, is it safe to use recycled water for surface applications? Vaziry said, “Yes, only at permitted facilities per established regulatory guidelines. Recycled water facilities at each site are separate from all potable systems. The recycled water customer is required to post signs, mark meters and sprinklers heads, and ensure there are no cross-connections between the potable and recycled water systems. There are annual inspections to ensure all regulations are adhered to.”

How safe is recycled water? Vaziry said, “Gilroy’s tertiary recycled water is highly treated, filtered and disinfected product. No health-related problems have ever been traced to any of the water recycling projects currently operating in California! So I think it is safe.”

And lastly, where does the water that is used to create recycled water come from? Vaziry said, “From the South County Regional Wastewater Authority (SCRWA) plant. Water recycling is the treatment and management of wastewater to produce water of suitable quality for non-potable beneficial uses. It is treated at a recycling plant that duplicates nature’s own cleaning process, only at a much faster rate. The result is a high quality water that is safe to use for irrigation of landscaping and crops, public playgrounds, golf courses, parks, park strips in city streets and medians, industrial processes, and much more. Recycling offers great potential for future additional water supplies in Santa Clara County where conventional water supply sources are scarce.”

For those interested in the SCRWA plant, you can find more information in the Spring 2015 Edition of the City of Gilroy Newsletter, which can be found online at