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Morro Bay moves forward with water project, largest in city history

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KCBX News
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The treated water that would come out of the city's planned Reclamation Facility could be used for irrigation of crops and landscapes.

Morro Bay is moving forward with plans to build a water reclamation facility, which would be the largest project in the city's history.

The treated water that would come out of the facility could be used for irrigation of crops and landscapes.

It's known as purple pipe water, which helps with conservation, and could help Morro Bay stretch its water capacity during periods of drought.

Sam Taylor is the city's Deputy City Manager and said Friday that the challenge now is finding the right location for this facility.

He said the city is currently getting ready to consider the Righetti Ranch, a property owned under a trust associated with the Madonna family.

It was determined that a previous site called Rancho Colina would be more expensive and possibly unsightly, but it's not entirely off the table either.

Both properties are on the north side of Highway 41, headed from Morro Bay to Atascadero. Righetti is about three-fourths of a mile from the intersection of Highway 1 and 41. Rancho Colina is about 1.5 miles from Highway 1. They sit about 3000 feet away from each other.

Taylor said the city is prepared to purchase the Righetti Ranch location, if it proves suitable.

"So, we have not secured that property; we have not purchased it," he said. "The city council has not approved purchase. But we are basically first in line to purchase it should we choose to do so."

Currently, the city uses a 62-year-old water treatment facility that Taylor said is at the end of its lifespan.

"The current facility is literally on ocean-front land. It is within both a floodplain and a tsunami zone and it absolutely must be replaced," he said.

Council members will hear updates to the plan on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. There will not be a final decision at this meeting.

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