North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition Responds to San Diego County Grand Jury Report Commending Regional Recycled Water Project

The North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition issued earlier today a response to the San Diego Grand Jury’s May 31 report that commended interagency efforts to expand recycled water throughout San Diego’s North County.

The Grand Jury’s report reviewed the Coalition and its efforts to expand water reuse in North County through a comprehensive, cross-jurisdictional partnership matching areas of high recycled water demand to facilities that can produce enough recycled water to meet that demand. The project also explores implementing advanced water treatment to reuse water for potable purposes. Water recycling and reuse reduces North County’s dependence on increasingly scarce and expensive imported water.

The Grand Jury also commended the Coalition efforts were positively characterized by the Grand Jury as a green project that will reduce wastewater discharges to the Pacific Ocean and offset water imports, thus also avoiding the energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions associated with imported water. Coalition’s regional recycled water project as an exemplary model to maximize efficiencies in providing local, drought-proof water supplies.

The Coalition was required by state law to respond to the Grand Jury’s report. In the response, the Coalition acknowledged the importance of expanding the use of recycled water, pledged to work with neighboring agencies to expand the Coalition, and reinforced its intent to work with the California Department of Transportation to increase the use of recycled water along the State Route 78 corridor.

The participating agencies—Carlsbad Municipal Water District, City of Escondido, Leucadia Wastewater District, 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—began collaboration in 2010 to more cost-effectively reduce potable water use at a regional level through water recycling and reuse. Work on the Program Environmental Impact Report followed in 2010 when the Coalition developed its first memorandum of understanding.

The group developed a Regional Recycled Water Facilities Plan in 2011, and many individual construction elements of the project have already begun. Upon completion of all long-term project elements, the Coalition’s Regional Recycled Water Project will add nearly 32 million gallons per day of recycled water and potable reuse water to North County’s water supply portfolio, offsetting the annual water demand of over 70,000 households. To date, the Coalition has received $5 Million in California Department of Water Resources grant funding.

The Grand Jury is tasked with investigating the operations of governmental programs of the County, cities and special districts within its jurisdiction to ensure that the best interests of San Diego County citizens are being served. It is comprised of 19 citizens who are charged and sworn to investigate, review and evaluate procedures, methods and systems utilized by government to determine whether they can be made more efficient and effective, and is governed by the California Penal Code.