North County Agencies Partner to Secure $2.6 Million for Recycled Water Projects

Following approval of a resolution this afternoon by the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors, four North County water and wastewater agencies expect to be awarded $2.6 million in state grant funding to expand recycled water infrastructure.

The recycled water project is a collaborative effort by Olivenhain Municipal Water District, San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, City of Oceanside, and Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District. It will add about 86 million gallons of recycled water to the region’s supply portfolio annually, offsetting the potable water demand of approximately 660 households per year. The project will also reduce ocean discharge and urban runoff.

“Up to 80 percent of our region’s water supply is imported from hundreds of miles away,” said OMWD Board President Ed Sprague. “Investing in the expansion of recycled water systems is a crucial step toward ensuring safe and reliable water supplies despite challenges such as population growth and periods of drought.”

City of Oceanside Deputy Mayor Jack Feller said, “This grant offers us a tremendous opportunity to move forward towards reaching our council-stated goal of 50 percent local water supply by 2030. Unpredictability with climate and the possibility of future drought makes it more important than ever to create a resilient local water supply.”

Each of the project partners participates in the North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition, comprising nine water and wastewater agencies. Since 2010, the coalition has worked to increase the supply of local safe and reliable drinking water across multiple cities and watersheds in the region by expanding distribution and storage systems for recycled water.

“As part of the North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition, Rincon Water’s Buena Ventura Senior Community Recycled Water Retrofit Program will offset 20 acre-feet per year of potable water to recycled water for common area landscape irrigation while reducing urban runoff into Escondido Creek, as well as help the community reduce water and sewer costs,” said James Murtland, Rincon Water’s Board President. “This grant funding allows us to help our community better manage and safeguard open greenspace, become more sustainable, and conserve a valued resource.”

The grant funding is available through the state’s Integrated Regional Water Management Program, which supports collaborative water management to increase regional self-reliance throughout California. The regional approach has proven successful: This grant will be the coalition’s third major award from the IRWM program in the past decade. Previous grants were for $1.5 million in 2010 and $3.5 million in 2014, significantly reducing the costs of water recycling projects for North County water ratepayers.

“SEJPA is committed to delivering affordable and adaptable recycled water solutions that make the most of our resource,” David Zito, Solana Beach Mayor and SEJPA Board Chair, said. “Collaborative regional approaches, such as this, are essential in order to effectively manage the impacts of drought and climate change in our communities.”

The North County recycled water project is one of six projects included in the Water Authority’s resolution, which formally approved an application to the California Department of Water Resources for securing a regional total of $15.3 million. These funds result from Proposition 1, a bond measure approved by voters in 2014 to improve water infrastructure statewide.

“The North County coalition’s ongoing effort to initiate and maintain water recycling on a collaborative, regional basis is a textbook example of how IRWM is supposed to work,” said Mark Stadler, manager of the San Diego IRWM Program and a Principal Water Resources Specialist at the Water Authority. “The projects executed with IRWM support will help to ensure the region has a resilient, self-sufficient water supply portfolio now and in the future.”

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