Who Owns the Tijuana River – and Who Needs Its Water Most

On a stormy day, 1 billion gallons of water can rage down the river crossing from Tijuana to San Diego.

None of that water is captured for reuse now among the two desert cities it splits, which are regularly prone to drought, because it’s considered polluted by sewage spills on the Mexican side. If successfully recycled, that water could prove to be valuable as the Southwest grows more water-uncertain due to climate change.

California Falling Short on 2030 Recycled Wastewater Goals

California isn’t meeting its recycled water goals, and billions of gallons of treated wastewater are being discharged into the ocean or other water bodies each year, according to state regulators, who say drought conditions could cause future supply challenges.

Night construction is underway for the Pure Water Oceanside project including well drilling. Photo: City of Oceeanside

Pure Water Oceanside Installing New Pipelines and Drilling Wells

Pure Water Oceanside is installing new pipelines and drilling wells as the recycled water project continues on track for completion in 2022. The advanced water purification project, and expansion of the City of Oceanside’s existing recycled water system, will deliver a new, local source of high-quality drinking water supplying more than 30% of the city’s water supply when completed.

Residents are kept up to date on the progress of construction for the Pure Water Oceanside project. Photo: City of Oceanside

An interactive construction map is one of several sources for information about the Pure Water Oceanside project. Photo: City of Oceanside

Residents are kept up to date on construction impacts to streets and other infrastructure through several outreach efforts including an interactive construction map, detailed online schedule, regular newsletters, and virtual open house presentations live on the City of Oceanside’s YouTube channel, offering residents the opportunity to ask questions.

“We understand living and commuting near a construction site is not easy,” said Cari Dale, water utilities director for the City of Oceanside. “Everyone involved with the project is thankful to those residents and business owners who live and work in the construction zone for their patience and cooperation. It is crucial to the successful on-time completion of this vital infrastructure project.”

Pipeline construction

Pure Water Oceanside pipeline installation is now taking place at North River Road and the Douglas Drive intersection, and moving towards Pala. In addition, pipeline installation on Pala Road is now underway. The road will remain open both ways but will require lane closures. Photo: City of Oceanside

Pipeline installation at North River Road and the Douglas Drive intersection is moving towards Pala Road. Photo: City of Oceanside

Pipeline installation is now taking place at North River Road and the Douglas Drive intersection, and moving towards Pala. Lane closures on Douglas Drive allow access to the businesses through the entrance on North River Road.

In addition, pipeline installation on Pala Road is now underway. The road will remain open both ways but will require lane closures.

Well construction, which includes injection and monitoring wells, requires closing a section of Coco Palms Drive (south of Cherrystone Street), which will reduce construction time and impacts to nearby residents. Well drilling will continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week for approximately three weeks until early 2021. During this time, 16-foot sound walls have been installed around the drilling site to direct sound waves up into the atmosphere and away from residents. Night construction lighting will also be mitigated by the sound walls.

After drilling is complete, additional work will be conducted for testing and to install well infrastructure. The post-drilling work will take place weekdays during business hours and occasional Saturdays.

River Bike Trail remains open

Access map for the popular River Bike Path while the Pure Water Oceanside project construction is underway. Map: City of Oceanside

Access map for the popular River Bike Path while the Pure Water Oceanside project construction is underway. Map: City of Oceanside

Access to the popular River Bike Trail path is still accessible on the west side of Douglas Drive. Riders are asked to cross safely at the marked crosswalk at Pala Road and Douglas Drive to access the trail and avoid construction equipment.

Construction on schedule 

Well drilling will allow repurified water to be stored in underground aquifers. Photo: City of Oceanside

Repurified water will be stored in underground aquifers. Photo: City of Oceanside

Construction for the entire project is expected to be complete in 2022. While most construction will take place during regular weekday business hours, some critical pipeline construction elements will require temporary extended work hours and occasional Saturdays to complete the project on time.

Residents can sign up for email updates about the project. In the event of any immediate concerns, residents can call 760-435-4570 and representatives will troubleshoot issues.

Pure Water Project May Receive $6 Million for Construction

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior is planning to recommend a $6 million grant award for the construction of the Pure Water Oceanside project. Interior Secretary David. L. Bernhardt is planning to recommend the project for the grant award, which will come from the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART: Title XVI WIIN Water Reclamation and Reuse Projects funding opportunity.

The Bureau of Reclamation provides grants to water districts and communities like Oceanside trying to reclaim and reuse wastewater and compromised ground and surface water in the West. Pure Water Oceanside will purify recycled water to create a local source of potable drinking water.

water recycling-national recycling day

New Water Recycling Videos on National Recycling Day

National Recycling Day on November 15 celebrates and promotes recycling practices to reduce waste and decrease energy demands, ultimately preventing pollution and fighting climate change. This year, the Water Authority partnered with the Southern California Water Coalition to promote water recycling.

National Recycling Day brings new video series

The Water Authority and other SCWC members, worked through the Coalition’s Recycled Water Task Force, along with other water districts and agencies in Southern California to create a new video series. The informative video series was created to educate the public on the use of recycled water in Southern California. The three-part video series shares a simple message – Water: Too Precious to Use Just Once.

The short videos explain the basics of water recycling and its importance as part of a diverse set of solutions employed by water agencies and local governments to stretch limited water resources. The series describes what water recycling is, how it is safe, and how it is used and will be used in the future.

“This new video series is the result of many water agencies and experts working in partnership to promote inclusive educational outreach about the safety and importance of water recycling in our communities,” said Lesley Dobalian, principal water resources specialist for the Water Authority and a member of the Recycled Water Task Force.

Water Too Precious to Use Just Once

Water recycling is the process of taking water that has already been used and treating it to levels safe for further beneficial use. Recycled water is highly regulated, and its use must comply with strict environmental and safety rules and requirements.

Thanks to advancements in water treatment technologies, reycled water is used to water landscapes, for commercial and industrial processes, and to recharge underground aquifers. Recycled water is also tapped for potable reuse through reservoir augmentation.

Water recycling is key to the region’s future

Recycled water is one more tool in the San Diego region’s water portfolio approach to provide a resilient water supply in the face of a changing climate. The  Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have increased the region’s water supply reliability through diversified and innovative technologies like water recycling.

The Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have promoted the advancement of water recycling and potable reuse in San Diego County by developing educational resources such as and obtaining outside funding from the Metropolitan Water District’s local resource program, and local, state, and federal grant and loan opportunities. Over the last year the Water Authority Board supported local potable reuse projects such as Pure Water San Diego, the East County Advanced Water Purification Program, and Pure Water Oceanside.

The video series was made possible through funding provided by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the work of members of SCWC’s Water Recycling Task Force video subcommittee, comprised of representatives from the San Diego County Water Authority and other agencies throughout Southern California.

Metropolitan Board Advances Major Recycled Water Project

The Metropolitan Water District board voted to begin environmental planning work on what would be one of the largest advanced purified wastewater treatment plants in the world.

Metropolitan officials said the approval marks a significant milestone for the Regional Recycled Water Program, a partnership between the MWD and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts to reuse water currently sent to the ocean.

Olivenhain Municipal Water District Logo landscape design workshops

Another Homeowner Association Converts to Recycled Water

Encinitas, Calif. — The Vida Pacifica Homeowner Association in Encinitas has begun receiving locally produced recycled water from Olivenhain Municipal Water District. Converting to recycled water will allow the HOA to save approximately 9.6 acre-feet of potable water annually, or over 3.1 million gallons. Each acre-foot contains about enough water to cover a football field, one foot deep.

Pipeline Replacement to Close Portions of Temecula Parkway Starting Next Month

Rancho California Water District crews will begin replacing more than a mile of pipeline under Temecula Parkway in November.

Staff from the water district updated the Temecula City Council on their plans at the council’s Oct. 13 meeting, where they said the project will result in lane closures on westbound Temecula Parkway from November through the middle of next year.

Vast New Reservoir in South Orange County Gets Its First Drops of Water

Right now, it’s just a huge hole in the hills off Ortega Highway in San Juan Capistrano. Really huge, as it’s designed to hold 1.6 billion gallons of water.

It’s still dry as dirt, but promises to be a central component of future water supplies for the 165,000 people served by the Santa Margarita Water District. While the district currently imports 100% of its drinking water from  the Colorado River and northern California, the new Trampas Canyon Reservoir is part of a plan to generate 30% of potable water supplies locally and to recycle more wastewater.

Pure Water Oceanside Gets $69 Million Loan

Oceanside has been awarded a $69 million loan to help finance the innovative Pure Water project that broke ground with a ceremony at the San Luis Rey Valley site in February.

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation loan from the federal Environmental Protection Agency will cover nearly half of the project’s $158 million costs, city officials said. The 1.2 percent interest rate is expected to save an estimated $24 million over typical market financing costs.