GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Water recycling at Viejas

Posted by George J Janczyn on June 27, 2009

Viejas water storage tanks

Viejas water storage tanks

Yesterday I went up to Viejas to find out about their recycled water system.  What’s pretty cool is that they capture 100% of their wastewater, put it through their nearby water treatment plant, and then store it in large water tanks (partially hidden behind a rock sculpture near I-8) to use for landscape  irrigation and as a reserve for firefighting.   Viejas is totally dependent on an underground aquifer for potable water–they have no outside water sources.

Viejas water treatment plant

Viejas water treatment plant

Aside from the wastewater recycling system are four small check dams creating ponds in the large pasture in the valley behind the casino.  That water comes from local runoff and the ponds allow water to percolate into the aquifer and provide drinking for grazing cattle and other wildlife. You can see the ponds in this satellite photo. A sign next to a small grove of fruit trees indicates they are watered with recycled water; however a staff member at the public works department told me they need to take the signs down because they no longer use recycled water for the fruit and that there isn’t enough recycled water to supply additional uses in the reservation aside from the casino and firefighting reserve. When I observed that the reservation has long undergone a tight water situation and it must be difficult, he said that on the other hand it’s nice not having to depend on outsiders.

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