North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition Awarded Over $6 Million in Federal Funding to Improve Local Water Supply Reliability
The North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition has been awarded a $6.1 million grant from the United States Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI program.
The coalition is a group of nine water and wastewater agencies in San Diego County working beyond jurisdictional boundaries to maximize recycled water use and reduce demand for imported water. The awarded funding is for the coalition’s Regional Recycled Water Program: 2020 Project, which is a joint effort between coalition members to expand recycled water infrastructure to increase and maximize water reuse in the region. Upon completion of all long-term project elements, the coalition anticipates increasing water reuse by 11 billion gallons per year. This equates to approximately 31 million gallons per day of recycled water and potable reuse water added to northern San Diego’s water supply portfolio.
“Water supplies are becoming increasingly affected by severe droughts and increased temperatures,” said Christy Guerin, Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board Treasurer. “Local supplies, such as recycled water, are imperative to maintaining a reliable source of water for our customers and region. OMWD appreciates USBR’s commitment towards this goal and its assistance to our region.”
The award helps cover costs for work performed from July 2017 through September 2023. The project includes connecting discrete recycled water systems to one another, new pipelines, increasing recycled water storage capacity, installation of new pump stations, and other project components that will help distribute recycled water to effectively meet demands.
“At the City of Oceanside, we are focused not only on today, but committed to planning for the future by expanding local water reuse projects and availability,” said Esther Sanchez, City of Oceanside Mayor. “The grant from the Bureau of Reclamation allows agencies throughout north county to enhance water reuse, expand infrastructure, and ensure we keep our projects affordable.”
The project helps address water supply shortages by offering the region a reliable approach for supplementing local and imported supplies. Potable water supplies are vulnerable during drought periods and can be restricted during times of water shortages. Recycled water is considered a drought-proof supply because it is not linked to weather fluctuations and is available year-round, effectively offsetting potable water demand. Furthermore, since recycled water is produced locally, it cannot be disrupted from shortages caused by earthquakes, wildfires, and other natural disasters that may occur in other parts of the state.
Investments in water infrastructure, such as the infrastructure expanded by this project, promotes economic development and expanded business opportunities. According to the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, for every $1 invested in water infrastructure, there is an estimated $1.80 increase in the region’s gross regional product. Furthermore, the Council of Economic Advisers estimated that more than 10,000 jobs will be created as a benefit of the project.
Additional benefits associated with the project come from reduced wastewater discharges and associated coastal stressors. Reducing the amount of wastewater discharged to the Pacific Ocean can benefit water quality along the coast in the coalition’s service area.
“Last year we were able to divert 690 million gallons of wastewater from the Encina treatment plant and use it as recycled water, offsetting the need for potable water and providing a more reliable local water supply,” said Vicki Quiram, General Manager of Carlsbad Municipal Water District
The project has previously received additional funding and support at the state level from the Department of Water Resources. The project has received grant funding on several occasions through the state’s Integrated Regional Water Management Program—administered locally in partnership with San Diego County Water Authority, County of San Diego, and City of San Diego—which supports collaborative water management to increase regional self-reliance throughout California. These IRWM awards have totaled $4.95 million in grant funding.
Through the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, the USBR provides financial and technical assistance to local water agencies for the planning, design, and construction of water reclamation and reuse projects. These projects are designed to provide growing communities with new sources of water which increases water management flexibility and makes our water supply more reliable. The coalition will be working with USBR to finalize the grant agreement in the coming months.
More information about the coalition and the project is available at www.nsdwrc.org.