San Diego approval leads large SoCal water reuse surge

The board of the San Diego County Water Authority on 22 May 2014 approved support for the City of San Diego’s proposed large-scale water recycling project, Pure Water San Diego, which the water authority has identified as the region’s most likely next source of local supply.

The completion of its Water Purification Demonstration Project in early 2013 provided the city with the necessary research to receive letters of conceptual approval from the California Department of Public Health and the SDWA for a San Vicente Reservoir augmentation project.

This would be part of a proposed multi-phase potable reuse project that would add up to 83 MGD (314,000 m³/d) of new reliable water supply to the region.

While continuing to advance the indirect potable reuse project utilizing San Vicente Reservoir, the city is also looking at a direct potable reuse project, if regulations will permit.

Much of the surrounding Southern California region is also looking into reuse.

The Padre Dam Municipal Water District is conducting pilot studies at its Santee Lakes Water Reclamation Facility and has been evaluating recharging groundwater into the Santee Basin to augment Helix Water District’s water supply through Lake Jennings.

The City of Oceanside is examining the feasibility of groundwater recharge in the San Luis Rey basin, while the City of Escondido has been conducting a feasibility study for a reservoir augmentation project using recycled water from its Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility to supply purified water through Lake Dixon and the Vista-Escondido surface water treatment plant.

A large coalition of North County agencies has formed to maximize reuse potential by combining all their recycling efforts, which also includes potable reuse projects. Agencies in the coalition include: the City of Escondido, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District, Santa Fe Irrigation District, San Dieguito Water District and the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority.