GrokSurf's San Diego

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

San Diego’s IPR Coalition to change name; City continues neighborhood outreach

Posted by George J Janczyn on September 2, 2010

The San Diego Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) Coalition today decided on a name change. The new name is: Water Reliability Coalition (WR Coalition). An accompanying tagline for the WR Coalition will be: “Advocating for local water purification.”

The WR Coalition (or WRC) is an association of environmental, consumer, business, labor, development, ratepayer, and technical organizations allied in support of IPR projects in the San Diego region.

The group’s decision to change name was partly motivated by the City of San Diego’s IPR project name change to Water Purification Demonstration Project (the old name was Indirect Potable Reuse Reservoir Augmentation Demonstration Project).

The Coalition wanted to have a name that was consistent with the city’s new project name, but also wanted the name to be a good umbrella term allowing for inclusion of water topics other than IPR that the group considers important.

The Coalition also made a decision to roll out a website and selected a local firm (which I can’t name yet) to handle design and development. In the meanwhile, I have this page with additional information.

In related news, two representatives from the San Diego Public Utilities Department gave a presentation on the Water Purification Project yesterday at the San Carlos Area Council. Eric Symons, Supervising Public Information Officer, and Alma Rife, Public Information Officer used Powerpoint slides to illustrate their talk.

The audience seemed quite well-informed already and was mostly receptive. As for the presentation, my impression was that the presenters were a little tentative and defensive in the presentation. I suspect this may be partly because they are officially barred from advocating IPR in the presentation, allowed only to do educational outreach. In any case, I suspect they were probably pleasantly surprised when an audience member said “So what are we waiting for? Why aren’t we already doing this?”

I did grimace at one point in the presentation when reverse osmosis was listed as one stage of the advanced treatment. In the verbal presentation and on the slide it was highlighted that the RO process is used by bottled water manufacturers. The implication being that IPR is as good as bottled water. I’m not sure we should hold bottled water up as a standard for IPR to strive for.

The new name for the project did generate some confusion for audience members. Why do we need a water purification project, they asked, when we’re assured our water is already safe and pure to drink? So the presentation had to stall in order to explain the name.

I’m curious how they came up with that name anyway. I recall someone mentioning other terms like “purified recycled water project” or “repurified water project” both of which I think would be a little less confusing than “water purification demonstration project.”

In the end, though, regardless of the name for the project it will require further explanation. There’s just too much behind the concept to capture the whole idea in a simple two or three word term.

I was glad to hear the presenters mention Las Vegas using IPR. I think San Diego can learn a lot from the full-scale IPR operation in Las Vegas and hope to write more about it in the future. You’ll note my first installment on that front appeared on today’s blog post From Lake Mead to Las Vegas and back again.


2 Responses to “San Diego’s IPR Coalition to change name; City continues neighborhood outreach”

  1. Burt Freeman said

    “—- the presenters were a little tentative and defensive in the presentation.” Does that mean that they were factual, instead of promotional? If so, that is an appropriate stance, is it not? The Demonstration Project results are not yet available and the City Council has not authorized Phase 3 (the Utilities Department shouldn’t preempt the decision of the Council).

    Did the discussion bring forward the issues of cost of IPR water and the amount available under the NC-3 option? To what extend will the department carry out the North County recycled water infill requirement of NC-3 prior to any possible IPR use of the feedwater from the recycling plant?

    Is it too much to ask for a level playing field here?

  2. Stan Myers said

    A typically comfy little “amen corner” of San Diego environmental activists and their buddies at the City of San Diego, which is, BTW, the last city in the country dumping untreated wastewater into the ocean. But why get all uncomfortable about the Clean Water Act, or the City’s refusal to install purple pipe for irrigation, or the City’s weird insistence on Pt. Loma as the only site where it can “treat” wastewater. Instead we’re going to shove our version of radical sustainability down the Public’s throat and embark on a multi-decade experiment with public health and cancer epidemiology. Last time I checked both the North City and South Bay WWTP’s were constructed with federal money for the express purpose of feeding tertiary-level treated wastewater into the purple pipe system for irrigation. This was in fact a condition of earlier wavers to the Clean Water Act. Since the City was apparently unable to honor its side of the deal, the CWA wavers now have the condition of implementing IPR. How far will this project get before the City gives up?

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