Work is progressing to build a recycled water pipeline from the east side of the Napa River to the Carneros area on the west side, serving a St. Regis resort project at Stanly Ranch and area property owners.
The pipeline would run from Napa Sanitation District’s treatment plant, under the Napa River, to the St. Regis site off Stanly Lane, and then out to grapegrowers, ranchers and other property owners in Carneros.
Property owners in the Los Carneros Water District approved a property tax assessment earlier this year that will provide $1.14 million over the next three years, paying for the final design of the pipeline and to expand its size from 8 inches in diameter, as needed by the resort, to 24 inches to serve more of Carneros.
The developers behind St. Regis already had plans for the smaller pipeline, but the Los Carneros district will spend about $500,000 to expand the pipeline’s diameter.
The district has an agreement with the sanitation district to purchase about 1,200 acre-feet of recycled water annually that would be delivered through the 9-mile-long pipeline.
The district also reached an agreement with the St. Regis developers in August to expand the pipeline’s size, said John Stewart, president of the water district’s board of directors.
The developers are expected to begin boring work to create a tunnel under the Napa River, perhaps in September, Stewart said. “It was designed to handle both their need and our need,” he said.
The St. Regis project was approved by the Napa City Council in 2010, but spent years in limbo awaiting financing. It was announced in May that the project had received financing, allowing it to move forward.
Plans call for 245 guest and residential units and a winery to be built at the Stanly Lane property, which sits on the city of Napa’s southern entry.
Stewart said the water district also inked a contract in June with Carollo Engineers to do the final design work for the pipeline, but the firm will need preliminary studies and surveys before it can wrap up the design.
The preliminary work should end this fall, allowing Carollo to begin the final designs by the start of 2014.
The total cost of the pipeline is estimated to be $16 million, and the district will need an additional property tax assessment, likely in 2015.
Sharing the cost of the pipeline with St. Regis is estimated to save the district $1 million, compared to the cost of pursuing its own, standalone pipeline, Stewart said.
But some district residents balked at the costs of the assessments in March, when it went to a vote. The current assessment will be billed to property owners at a rate of $100-per-acre annually for three years. The assessment passed with 76 percent approval.
The next assessment could cost as much as $4,200 an acre, total, although the district would pursue financing plans that could bring the annual cost down but would extend the period of repayment to 20 years.
The district estimates it will need 1,300 acre-feet of water annually to reduce reliance on groundwater supplies in Carneros. The pipeline would help reduce any stress on groundwater.
But Stewart said the district will also be quick to tap any additional supplies of recycled water that Napa Sanitation District could make available.
“We want to be first in line to subscribe to that water,” Stewart said.