GrokSurf's San Diego

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

Updated fact sheet on San Diego’s Water Purification Demonstration Project

Posted by George J Janczyn on August 19, 2010

The San Diego Water Department’s Water Reuse web page has been somewhat dated for a good while, with a haphazard assortment of links to information about earlier phases of the city’s attempts at water reuse. That’s changing now.

The Water Reuse page is getting organized and updated with new information and terminology. The Indirect Potable Reuse Reservoir Augmentation Demonstration Project now appears under its current name Water Purification Demonstration Project with the project objective and description. Updates have also been made to auxiliary pages for News & Publications, General Information, Public Involvement, Independent Advisory Panel Members, and Links & Resources.

The updated fact sheet is displayed below. There’s one glitch…the new web address shown on the fact sheet,, attempts to redirect incorrectly and results in a “forbidden” message. I’m sure that will be fixed soon. [it was…I just received a note that it has been fixed.]


5 Responses to “Updated fact sheet on San Diego’s Water Purification Demonstration Project”

  1. Burt Freeman said

    Thank you, George, for the updated links and for the reproduction of the Demonstration Project Fact Sheet.

    As I’ve previously expressed to Utilities Department staff, there is at least one problem with the facts in the sheet; IPR is described as “supply”; in fact, it is, formally, a reduction in “demand”, which is NOT the same.

    As I’ve pointed out in the past, the most expert document on the use of IPR in San Diego is in the 2006 Final Draft Report; the link to it is on the right-hand side of the web page result in from access to the Water Reuse section that you reference. In it, the expert facts and analysis on NC-3 is presented in Section 7, etc. Please review what that anaysis shows.

  2. Karen Svet said

    I take issue with the statement in the fact sheet that says the City’s 2005 Water Reuse Study “identified reservoir augmentation as the preferred option for developing recycled water sources”. The 2006 final draft Water Reuse Study proposes expansion of the non-potable (purple pipe) system to serve infill customers, followed by an IPR Project (San Vicente reservoir augmentation project) to maximize available supplies. The proposed San Vicente IPR project is sized to utilize surplus wintertime supply of recycled water that is not being used for irrigation. The main emphasis is on connecting potential recycled water customers to the purple pipe system to beneficially reuse recycled water produced at the North City WRP, which could be accomplished many years before an IPR project becomes a reality.

  3. Burt Freeman said

    Excellent points, Karen.

    Your discussion also raises questions about the infill program and the pricing of recycled water. Is the infrastructure, indeed, being put in place for infill, when will it be available, how much water will be used, what is being done to sell more NCWRP water, how much will it cost (have issues of recovery of cost been resolved?), etc.?

    The cost of Phase 3 IPR water should be affected by the expense of the feed water from NCWRP; has this cost been included in it’s estimated cost? What volume of water for Phase 3 will really be available, when demand for purple pipe water is taken into account? Can you help us here, George?

  4. Burt Freeman said

    The Fact Sheet, under the heading Potential Benefits —, lists the benefit “Provide a supply of water that uses less energy than imported water”.

    Where does this assertion come from? Indeed, considerable energy is required to transport, pump, store, treat, distribute, etc. imported water from MWD (different amounts from Northern California and the Colorado). There is energy required to treat, transport, pump, store, treat, distribute, etc. water from IPR as well. Some of the energy associated with IPR comes from the building of the infrastructure and amortizing that energy expenditure over the life of the project. Clearly, energy use is not an easy calculation, but somebody must have carried it out in order to substantiate the above statement in the Fact Sheet.

    The 2006 Water Reuse Draft report doesn’t address energy, but it does estimate the dollar cost of NC-3 at around $1800/AF in current dollars. A ballpark measure of energy use is provided by dollar cost; IPR is more than 50% more dollar costly than imported water (~$1000/AF from SDCWA) and probably uses more energy as well.

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