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Caltrans to use recycled water on portion of Highway 101


It will soon take less water to keep the plants green along Highway 101 through the Central Coast.

Caltrans is in the process of installing hardware that will cut potable water demand in half, if not more, for some stretches of the roadway according to District 5 spokesman Jim Shivers.

Part of the plan calls for hooking up to the City of San Luis Obispo's purple pipe system of recycled waste water to the existing network of pipes Caltrans uses to irrigate.

"In this case we're moving away from water provided by the city to water that is—well, still provided by the city—but in the future coming from the waste water treatment plant, and that for irrigation and recycled water is really the most efficient and perfect use for what we're trying to do," said Shivers.

Credit Caltrans District 5
San Luis Obispo irrigation improvements being installed by Caltrans.

The recycled water project will stretch between the Monterey Street and Los Osos Valley Road exits and most of the projects should be complete the end of the year.

Other plans for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties include low-flow fixtures and smart irrigation controllers that monitor the heath of the plants, only watering when necessary.

Caltrans owns and manages more than 30,000 acres of irrigated landscape statewide. About 75 percent of the water used by the department goes to irrigate highway plants. 

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