Olivenhain Municipal Water District serves over two and a half million gallons of recycled water every day, continuing a tradition that began in California in 1929.
OMWD currently collects wastewater from 4S Ranch and Rancho Cielo areas, which enters the recycling process at 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility, located at 16595 Dove Canyon Road in San Diego. The facility produces over one million gallons of recycled water per day, which is delivered to irrigation customers in the southeastern portion of OMWD’s service area for use at HOA common areas, schools, parks, streetscapes, and golf courses. OMWD supplements the recycled water it produces with recycled water purchased from Rancho Santa Fe Community Services District and the City of San Diego.
OMWD also purchases recycled water from Vallecitos Water District and San Elijo Joint Powers Authority to serve customers in portions of Encinitas and Carlsbad. OMWD continues to expand recycled water infrastructure throughout the area. In 2023, OMWD completed construction of the Manchester Avenue Recycled Water Pipeline Project, which involved the construction of approximately 1.4 miles of new recycled water pipeline. The new pipeline expands recycled water service to the corridor along Manchester Avenue and South El Camino Real from Via Poco to Tennis Club Drive.
OMWD’s recycled water is highly treated and used for non-domestic purposes. OMWD has adopted “Best Management Practices” to ensure that this water is used in a safe and responsible manner. First, irrigating with recycled water must take place during the late evening and early morning hours, when public contact is at a minimum. Second, OMWD staff actively oversees the use of the recycled water.
OMWD is a leader in expanding cooperative recycled water efforts and regional partnership. As a member of the North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition, OMWD works collaboratively with other local agencies to expand recycled water infrastructure regionally. The participating agencies—Carlsbad Municipal Water District, City of Escondido, Leucadia Wastewater District, City of Oceanside, OMWD, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District, San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, Santa Fe Irrigation District, and Vallecitos Water District—began collaboration in 2010 to more cost-effectively reduce potable water use at a regional level through water recycling and reuse.
To increase water supply and drought resilience, the Coalition began the Regional Recycled Water Project, which will develop regional recycled water infrastructure to increase the capacity and connectivity of the recycled water storage and distribution systems of the Coalition members and maximize reuse of available wastewater supplies. The project will replace potable water uses with recycled water components, convert facilities to recycled water service, connect discrete recycled water systems to one another, increase recycled water storage capacity, distribute recycled water to effectively meet recycled water demands, and implement advanced water treatment to produce and use potable reuse water within the Project Area.
OMWD is also an active member of the Association of California Water Agencies, the largest state coalition of public water agencies in the state. ACWA assists OMWD and statewide water customers with reliable scientific and technical information, tracking and shaping water policy, and facilitating cooperation among all interest groups.
See below for ACWA’s “Urban Innovation” video, highlighting other agencies throughout California that are using innovative measures to increase water supply and drought resilience.