Agreement Executed to Secure $3.45 Million in State Grant Funds for North County Recycled Water Projects

On behalf of its North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition partners, Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors approved an agreement today with the San Diego County Water Authority by which to receive $3,452,000 in state grant funds for the commencement of construction for certain components of the North San Diego County Regional Recycled Water Project.

The funds are part of a $10,511,225 grant award provided by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) through its Proposition 84 Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program. The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) is administering the grant on behalf of the San Diego region after completing a funding agreement with DWR on August 6. The North San Diego County Regional Recycled Water Project is one of seven projects receiving a portion of the award.

The project is a comprehensive, cross-jurisdictional partnership matching areas with high recycled water demand to facilities that can produce enough recycled water to meet that demand. Maximizing the use of regional recycled water resources reduces North County’s dependence on increasingly scarce and expensive imported water, and helps the agencies to achieve the state-mandated potable water reduction of 20 percent by the year 2020.

Christy Guerin, OMWD’s Vice President and its representative to SDCWA, stated: “Especially over the last two years, water supply conditions throughout the state have demanded that local agencies look beyond the Bay-Delta and the Colorado River to meet their water demands. The North County agencies have demonstrated foresight and leadership by tackling water supply challenges head-on and better preparing the region to navigate droughts. The Water Authority and DWR also deserve a lot of credit for recognizing the importance of this project.”

The participating agencies—Carlsbad Municipal Water District, the City of Escondido, Leucadia Wastewater District, the City of Oceanside, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District, San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, Santa Fe Irrigation District, Vallecitos Water District, and Vista Irrigation District—have aggressively pursued grant funding since the partnership was born in 2010. The strategy has proven successful in that the grant award is the second seven-figure award received from the Department of Water Resources—the project’s planning phase garnered a $1,500,000 award in 2010 for which the coalition received its first payment disbursement in August 2014. Additionally, the group continues to work with San Diego County’s federal representatives in hopes of achieving up to $50 million in federal funding for the project. To date, these pursuits have significantly reduced the costs of infrastructure investment to North County ratepayers.

The City of Oceanside’s Water Utilities Director, Cari Dale, declared: “This regional partnership is an example of working together to accomplishing great things. We are fortunate that many of the planning aspects of the project are finishing up and we can move into construction. And what better timing to do that than when we are facing unprecedented drought conditions.”

The group developed a Regional Recycled Water Facilities Plan in 2011 and is currently developing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Report. Many individual construction elements of the project have already begun. Upon completion of all long-term project elements, the North San Diego County Regional Recycled Water Project will add over 30 million gallons per day of recycled water and potable reuse water to North County’s water supply portfolio, offsetting the water demand of approximately 75,000 households.

“Given the continued increase in water costs and the renewed focus on conservation and limited supplies due to the drought, the efforts of all the coalition partners will have a positive long-term impact on all of northern San Diego County and shows the leadership and initiative of the NSDWRC,” said Greg Quist, President of Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District.

DWR’s Integrated Regional Water Management program is designed to fund competitive grants for projects that improve regional water resources management. Grant funds are made available through Proposition 84 (2006), which authorized $5.388 billion in general obligation bonds to fund water-related infrastructure and programs.