Due to recent road work on West Main, some of us may have started to dread the usually calm drive up and down the road that Pattersonites rely so heavily upon. The road work has often taken two lanes near West Main and Jennings and turned them into one, making commuters sit idly in their cars for minutes at a time. One minute of waiting often turns into two minutes, and sometimes, even three minutes can turn into four, and this can often incite feelings of discomfort, annoyance and irritation. However, this is all to ensure that the rich agricultural farmland that makes this community what it is can thrive during a time when water conservation has turned from conversation, to actual conservation.

For the last four years, those working on the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (NVRRWP) have been addressing one of the biggest problems that the Central Valley has ever faced: water.

The NVRRWP website highlights a regional solution for local water needs. Stating that the problem has stemmed from pumping water for farmland through the San Joaquin-Bay Delta during recent droughts, which has caused increased water limitations and, it says, “These factors have contributed to the fallowing of highly productive farmland and lost jobs...deteriorating the farming industry and causing serious economic hardship.”

The solution provided by the NVRRWP is the reason commuters are currently stuck for minutes on West Main waiting for their lane to open up. The NVRRWP, which is a collaborative partnership between the cities of Modesto, Turlock, Ceres, the Del Puerto Water District and Stanislaus County, have been hard at work installing miles of pipelines from Modesto, Ceres and Turlock to the Delta Mendota Canal, from which farmers contracting with the Del Puerto Water District can access it.

These pipelines will act as arteries, transporting treated recycled water to the heart of the Del Puerto Water District via the Delta-Mendota Canal. In turn, the Del Puerto Water District will distribute as much as 30,600 acre feet of water per year to Patterson area farmers.

“The benefits that will come to the West Side in terms of water supply reliability and consistency in our agricultural and water allocations are monumental, and we very much appreciate the public’s patience as we get through this process,” said Del Puerto Water District General Manager Anthea Hansen.

Hansen said that the pipeline installation is about halfway done on West Main and that the project will soon turn its attention to South Carpenter road.

“I get constant positive feedback from (our farmers) about this project and how it will change the future for their farming operations. It’s all positive. Very positive. We’re basically taking a resource that was not previously being put to beneficial use, and we’re using it to grow food and to shore up our supply for people who have had trouble accessing water for quite a number of years,” said Hansen, who also added that she “can’t stress enough how much we appreciate the community’s patience while we do this.”

So next time you are you waiting one, two, three, or even four minutes on West Main, remember: This is all to get us closer to a future farming utopia where small towns like Patterson can continue to thrive in its rich agricultural roots.

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