Recycled Water

Recycled Water Pipeline Expansion Project

The City of Palo Alto is working on environmental documents to expand the recycled water purple pipeline within South Palo Alto towards Stanford Research Park.  On April 20th, 2015, the City of Palo Alto released a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Palo Alto Recycled Water Project. The project would deliver recycled water produced by Palo Alto’s Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP) to parks and commercial customers in and near the Stanford Research Park. The objectives are to conserve potable water by providing an alternative supply of high quality recycled water for irrigation and other non-potable uses and to increase resiliency of the overall system in times of drought and emergencies. In the long term, the pipeline system could also deliver water to groundwater recharge injection well sites, if needed.  The City will not commence construction on the recycled water pipeline expansion project until the environmental documents are complete and a new facility assessment is complete.

Public meetings to discuss the project were held in May and the City is currently crafting responses to the public’s comments. 

Learn more about the City’s recycled water and other non-potable water sources

Project Workplan and Timeline

Task  Estimated Completion 
Facility Plan (Includes preliminary research and project feasibility    Completed in 2008
Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) April 20, 2014
Public Review April 20-June 4, 2015

Public comments due by June 4, 2015, 5pm to:

Karin North, Watershed Protection Program Manager
Regional Water Quality Control Plant
3501 Embarcadero Way
Palo Alto, CA 94303
(650) 329-2104
 Final Draft EIR  Summer 2015
UAC Meeting     August 5, 2015
 Project Approval by Palo Alto City Council  Fall 2015
 Project Funding  2015-2016
 Design  2016-2017
 Construction  2018


Palo Alto’s Water Reuse Program began in the early 1980s. In what is now considered Phase 1 of the RWQCP recycled water system the initial delivery of recycled water to Shoreline Golf Links was later expanded to include the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course, Greer Park, and the Emily Renzel Marsh.

Palo Alto then completed a Water Reclamation Master Plan in 1992.  The Palo Alto Recycled Water Project is considered Phase 2 of this Master Plan and comes at a time when new high quality water sources must be identified to offset potable water use for irrigation at public parks and business campuses. 

As part of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements, an Initial Study and Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration was issued in March 2009 which contained a checklist evaluating impacts on the environment associated with construction and operation of the project. Comments were received during the 30-day public comment period. The City completed a Response to Comments document in May 2009. Due to public concerns regarding the irrigation of redwood trees with recycled water, the City did not take pursue the project at that time. Since then, steps have been taken to reduce salinity and drought conditions have made consideration of the project urgent. 

Project Documents

Recycled Water FAQ

Final Environmental Impact Report Response to Comments (July 2015)

Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Palo Alto Recycled Water Project

Draft Environmental Impact Report, Volume 1

Appendices for Environmental Impact Report, Volume 2

For more information call Karin North, Watershed Protection Program Manager at 650.329.2104 or email

Historical Documents:

Notice of Preparation

Response to Comments on the Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration

Last Updated: Jul 24, 2015