West Basin Municipal Water District Presents El Segundo Desalination Plant to Manhattan Beach Leaders for the First Time

The final environmental study for a proposed desalination plant in El Segundo will soon be released, the City Council for adjacent Manhattan Beach learned this week, when it received its first formal presentation on the potential project — even though the West Basin Municipal Water District first pitched the plant in 2015.

If approved, the proposed $400 million plant — which would border El Porto, in El Segundo — would be capable of converting 20-to-60 million gallons of ocean water to drinkable water each day. District officials have said the plant is crucial to diversifying the region’s water supply, in case there’s an emergency or a severe drought.

Visitors learn about technology used to purify and recycle water at a recent Pure Water Oceanside open house. Photo: City of Oceanside

Pure Water Oceanside Project Construction Slated For 2020

The City of Oceanside is joining the City of San Diego and East San Diego County in adding advanced purified water to its drinking water supply. The Pure Water Oceanside project is expected to break ground next spring and begin producing advanced purified water in 2022.

The Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Helix Water District and the City of San Diego, are among the water agencies in San Diego County that are developing or expanding water recycling to increase the local water supply.

Pure Water Oceanside tour participants can try filtering water as part of the tour experience. Photo: City of Oceanside

People can try filtering water as part of Pure Water Oceanside tour activities. Photo: City of Oceanside

The Oceanside project launched in March with a “World of Water” community open house attended by more than 400 people. Building on the interest generated at the event, the city opened its doors for the public, schools and scouts to experience Pure Water Oceanside on October 15. The next community event is scheduled for November 9.

“The incredible interest, success and feedback from the community event demonstrated a true thirst for water knowledge and a strong desire to see, first-hand, water facilities located in the community,” said Cari Dale, water utilities director for the City of Oceanside. “Pure Water Oceanside is an important and smart investment and we find tremendous value in educating the public about the importance of diversifying the city’s water supply.”

Technology used to recycle and purify water on display

Water membranes like the ones that will be used as part of the Pure Water Oceanside project are on display during public tours. Photo: City of Oceanside

Water membranes like the ones that will be used as part of the Pure Water Oceanside project are on display during public tours. Photo: City of Oceanside

The tours offer a behind-the-scenes look of the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation and Mission Basin Groundwater Purification Facilities, where guests can take a hands-on approach and learn about the technology used to recycle and purify water.

Pure Water Oceanside will purify recycled water to create a new local source of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof and environmentally sound. The project will produce enough water to provide 32% of the city’s water supply, or between 3 and 5 million gallons of water per day.

In addition to tours, Oceanside has developed a comprehensive public education program for the water purification project, including a video, fact sheet, FAQ and community group presentations. To experience Pure Water Oceanside and sign up for an upcoming tour, go to:

READ MORE: Pure Water Day Delivers Pure Family Fun


Water Authority Wins National 2019 WaterSense Excellence Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the San Diego County Water Authority with a 2019 WaterSense Excellence Award for advancing water efficiency through its Qualified Water Efficient Landscape program, known as QWEL. The Water Authority received one of 25 WaterSense awards at the national WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas.

Credit Analysis Affirms Carlsbad Desalination Plant is Financially Strong

Carlsbad, Calif. – The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant maintains an investment grade rating in the latest report from Fitch Ratings, affirming the plant’s sound financial management and its ability to provide a stable, reliable source of drinking water to the San Diego region.  As the largest, most technologically advanced and energy-efficient desalination plant in the nation, the Carlsbad Desalination Plant’s revenue stability stems from an effective collaboration between Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority.

EPA WaterSense Excellence Award to San Diego County Water Authority for QWEL program.

Water Authority Wins National 2019 WaterSense Excellence Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today recognized the San Diego County Water Authority with a 2019 WaterSense Excellence Award for advancing water efficiency through its Qualified Water Efficient Landscape program, known as QWEL.

The Water Authority received one of 25 WaterSense awards at the national WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas.

Water Authority wins second consecutive EPA award for QWEL program

This is the second consecutive year the Water Authority has achieved the Excellence Award for the QWEL program, which is certified by EPA to significantly increase water management skills and knowledge among landscape professionals. Program curriculum includes 20 hours of classroom and hands-on training on principles of plant care, irrigation system design, maintenance, programming, operations and troubleshooting.

“Partnering with EPA has helped the Water Authority promote water efficiency by training hundreds of landscape professionals each year to adopt best practices,” said Jim Madaffer, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “This approach helps to ensure that water-saving measures embraced by homes and businesses can be supported and sustained over the long term.”

San Diego County Water Authority Water Resources Specialist Efren Lopez accepted 2019 EPA WaterSense Excellence Award in Certification Program Growth.

San Diego County Water Authority Water Resources Specialist Efren Lopez (holding award) accepted the 2019 EPA WaterSense Excellence Award in Certification Program Growth on October 3 in Las Vegas. Photo: EPA

As one of the first QWEL providers in Southern California, the Water Authority has helped to expand the program’s branded outreach and educational outcomes. Since the January 2016 launch of QWEL, more than 1,000 San Diego landscape professionals have participated, making the region’s program one of the largest in the nation. More than 690 landscape professionals have earned QWEL certificates in the San Diego region over the past four years by passing a rigorous national test.

Water Authority Wins 2019 EPA WaterSense Excellence Award

The San Diego County Water Authority’s QWEL program is certified by the EPA and significantly increases water management skills among landscape professionals.

Water Authority’s landscape water efficiency classes

The Water Authority promotes English and Spanish QWEL training in collaboration with trade associations, faith-based organizations, English-as-a-Second-Language programs, community colleges and Master Gardeners associations. Nearly all (99%) program participants surveyed said the class would help them better manage landscape water efficiency, and 98% rated the class good or excellent.

San Diego County Water Authority Wins 2019 EPA WaterrSense Excellence Award

QWEL program curriculum includes 20 hours of classroom and hands-on training on principles of plant care, irrigation system design, maintenance, programming, operations and troubleshooting. Photo: Water Authority

Since 2006, the Water Authority and more than 2,000 other WaterSense partners nationwide have helped consumers save more than 3.4 trillion gallons of water. That’s enough water to supply the nation’s households for four months. In addition to water savings, WaterSense-labeled products and homes have helped reduce the amount of energy needed to heat, pump, and treat water by 462.5 billion kilowatt hours – enough to power more than 44.4 million homes for a year – and save $84.2 billion in water and energy bills, according to EPA.

“Our partners have made water-saving products, homes, and programs accessible across the nation and have educated millions on the importance of water conservation,” said Veronica Blette, chief of the EPA WaterSense branch. “These WaterSense award winners are leading the fight against water waste to save our most precious resource.”

The QWEL program is made possible in part from grants funds provided from voter-approved Proposition 84. The grant funds are administered by the California Department of Water Resources.

$100 million desalination project to be led by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

In a effort to widen the use of a nearly limitless — but expensive — source of water for California and other places worldwide that are prone to shortages, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been selected to lead a $100 million project aimed at bringing down the cost of desalination.

The money, announced this week and awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy, will fund a research consortium of 19 universities around that the country that include Stanford, UC-Berkeley, UCLA and others, along with 10 private industry partners and other Department of Energy institutions, like Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee.

The goal, organizers say, is to reduce the cost of removing salt from ocean water to make it a more viable drinking water source for California and other areas. Closely related, planners also hope to clean up other types of water that are being largely wasted or underused so they can be a source for cities, farms and wildlife.

Storage in Lake Mead - San Diego County Water Authority - Public Opinion Survey - 2019

Survey: San Diego Region Strongly Supports Enhancing Water Reliability

San Diego County residents strongly support efforts to continue improving water supply reliability and they largely trust local water agencies to do that work, according to a regional public opinion survey released today by the San Diego County Water Authority.

An overwhelming majority (94%) of respondents favor expanding the use of recycled water for agriculture and irrigation, and 79% support purifying wastewater to drinking water standards with advanced treatment technologies.

In addition, 71% of respondents back efforts by the Water Authority to store water in Lake Mead on the Colorado River for use during droughts and emergencies, and to help avoid water shortages on the river.

Public willing to make additional investments in reliable water

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents understand that providing safe and reliable water supplies is more costly in San Diego than many other parts of the country, and many indicate a willingness to make additional investments. More than 6 in 10 (64%) residents say they would pay $5 more a month to increase reliability and enhance local control over water supplies, with 50% showing willingness to pay $7.50 more per month, and nearly half (45%) saying they would pay $10 more each month.

“Our region’s residents appreciate the importance of maintaining safe, reliable water supplies and the role of public water agencies to support our $231 billion economy,” said Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer. “They also recognize that continuing to develop locally controlled water supplies – while making efficient use of existing sources – is critical for our future.”

San Diego Region committed to water efficiency

The survey also makes it clear that San Diego County residents remain committed to using water efficiently even though the region’s water supplies are sufficient to meet demands. Ninety-two percent of respondents agree that water-use efficiency is a civic duty, and 70% say they have taken actions to reduce their home water use in the past 12 months.

The Water Authority has performed periodic public opinion research over the past two decades to gauge residents’ knowledge and attitudes about water issues. The latest survey of 1,063 adults in San Diego County was conducted by Encinitas-based True North Research from Aug. 16 to 27, and results were provided to the agency’s Board of Directors during today’s regular monthly meeting.

Affordable housing, homelessness, most pressing regional issues

Survey results show that affordable housing is the most prominent top-of-mind issue (31%) in the region, followed by homelessness (21%) and cost of living (12%). Only 3% of respondents mentioned water-related topics such as drought, cost or quality as the most important top-of-mind issue facing San Diego County. Four years ago, when statewide drought conditions were peaking, water issues ranked first (33%).


The latest survey also indicates that almost everyone agrees that a safe, reliable water supply is important for a healthy regional economy (94%) and San Diego’s desirable quality of life (93%). That’s a key tenet of the Water Authority’s ongoing Brought to You by Water outreach and education program, and an increase from prior years.

Public trust in water agencies to deliver reliable supply

When it comes to supply reliability in San Diego County, more than half (52%) of respondents expect it to improve or stay about the same over the next year. Residents were divided in their optimism over the region’s long-term reliability. While 42% expected supplies to improve or remain the same over the next 20 years, 48% thought supply conditions would worsen. However, nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents trust local water agencies to ensure a reliable water supply over the long-term.

The 2019 survey also explored issues of cost. The survey showed that few residents know how much they pay for a gallon of tap water. After being told that the retail cost of municipal tap water in the San Diego region is about one cent per gallon, nearly 6 in 10 (58%) respondents said tap water is an excellent (29%) or good (29%) value, with 24% percent saying it is a fair value.

On the topic of water rates, nearly 6 in 10 (59%) survey respondents agree that additional increases may be necessary to increase the reliability of our region’s water supply.

Complete Survey: SDCWA Water Issues Survey 2019 Report v3R



Amy Dorman, Deputy Director, Pure Water Operations, is pictured accepting the award for the City of San Diego. Photo: City of San Diego Utility of the Future Today

San Diego Public Utilities Department Honored for Sustainability

The City of San Diego Public Utilities Department has been recognized as a “Utility of the Future Today” for its outreach efforts for the Pure Water San Diego Program.

The honor was bestowed today by a partnership of water sector organizations, including the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the Water Environment Federation, the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation, the WateReuse Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The program recognizes the achievements of water utilities that transform from the traditional wastewater treatment system to a resource recovery center and leader in the overall sustainability and resilience of the communities they serve.

Pure Water Program ‘a national model’

“Being named a Utility of the Future Today further demonstrates the City’s commitment to producing a sustainable water supply for our citizens,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “The Pure Water Program is a national model for finding an innovative solution to our water needs.”

The City received the award at the Water Environment Federation’s 92nd annual Technical Exhibition and Conference held in Chicago from Sept. 21-25. The San Diego Public Utilities Department was previously honored as a Utility of the Future Today in 2016 for its efforts in community engagement and water reuse.

Forward-thinking, innovative water utilities

“We take pride in our work and are very honored to receive this recognition,” said San Diego Public Utilities Department Director Shauna Lorance. “We strive to provide the very best service to our customers, and that includes planning for the future.”

The Utility of the Future Today concept was first introduced in 2013. It celebrates the achievements of forward-thinking, innovative water utilities that are providing resilient, value-added service to communities, particularly in community engagement, watershed stewardship and recovery of resources such as water, energy and nutrients.

Pure Water San Diego is the City’s phased, multi-year program that will provide one-third of San Diego’s water supply locally by 2035. The Pure Water San Diego Program will use proven water purification technology to clean recycled water to produce safe, high-quality drinking water. The program offers a cost-effective investment for San Diego’s water needs and will provide a reliable, sustainable water supply.

Southern California Water Portfolio

This region has made tremendous strides toward diversifying its water portfolio. In Riverside County, groundwater desalination is moving forward to take full advantage of all available sources of water. Plans for Water Banking, which will take Northern California water imported during wet years to restore local aquifers for use during dry years, are also progressing.

Water Resilience In Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa – At the height of the drought (April 2018) in this amazing city, residents were restricted to 50 liters (13 gallons) of water per person, per day, and that allowed Cape Town and the Western Cape province to avert an unprecedented catastrophe, Day Zero, the day this city of four-million residents could have run out of water.

The threat made conservation the new normal, resulting in practices like hotel showers with minute timers, closed water taps in public places, and informational slogans/campaigns throughout the city.