Recycled Water for Agricultural Irrigation


Recycled Water Service for Agriculture 

The number one use of recycled water in the State of California has been recycled water for agricultural irrigation for several years. 

The Coachella Valley Water District recycles more than 2 billion gallons of wastewater annually through an advanced multi-step process that filters out solids, organic materials, chemicals and pathogens. CVWD employees collect and test recycled water samples daily to meet strict water reuse regulations for agricultural, golf course and landscape irrigation.

CVWD is working to expand its wastewater reclamation plants in the East Valley within the next five years to increase the recycled water supply for agricultural irrigation. This is part of CVWD’s long-term water management strategy to reduce demand on the groundwater basin and on Colorado River water.

We want your input on recycled water use for agriculture. 
Please take our customer survey.

Learn about the future recycled water expansion project. 

California allows the use of recycled municipal wastewater for agriculture, including surface irrigation of both food and non-food crops, animal pasture, orchards and vineyards, and ornamental nursery stock. (Cal. Code Regs.tit. 22).

Benefits of Recycled Water Use for Agriculture

  • Important Supplement to Water Supply: Using recycled water diversifies CVWD’s portfolio of water supplies. Recycled water availability is more reliable than groundwater production, rainfall, and imported water.
  • Drought proof: Availability is not dependent upon weather conditions or drought regulations.  Does not rely on groundwater pumping restrictions.
  • Economic Boost to Region: Competitively priced compared to Colorado River water use and lower cost than groundwater production. The cost of fertilizers has been found to decrease due to the nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) in recycled water.      
  • Local Control: Under CVWD’s authority to collect, treat, disinfect and provide recycled water to customers. CVWD is the enforcement authority distributing permits for recycled water customers.
  • Environmental Protection: Reduces effluent discharges to surface water. Saves energy by eliminating pumping imported water long distances.  Reduces greenhouse gas production due to less pumping.  Conserves groundwater for potable purposes.  Reduces water diversion from sensitive ecosystems along the Colorado River. 
  • High Water Quality: Low to zero bacteria counts, less turbidity, lower salinity and lower bicarbonates.  Higher nutrient availability.  Zero chlorine residual as a result of UV disinfection.  State and federal regulations establish stringent standards for water quality that protect public health.
  • Safe To Use: In California, growers using recycled water, meeting the Title 22 criteria, have shown over the last 50 years that this practice is safe, sustainable, and economical.  Recycled water treatment is monitored 24/7 and strictly regulated by the State of California.