GrokSurf's San Diego

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

Archive for the ‘Indirect potable reuse’ Category

From Lake Mead to Las Vegas and back again

Posted by George J Janczyn on September 2, 2010

A few monsoonal clouds helped only slightly with 105 degree temperatures

They don’t make a big public fuss about it and they don’t usually refer to it as such but for Las Vegans, Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) plays a big role in helping to cope with difficult water supply issues. After drawing most of its water from Lake Mead, Las Vegas produces an average of 193 million gallons (mgd) of wastewater per day. The wastewater is treated to an advanced purification and disinfection process and is returned to Lake Mead via the Las Vegas Wash. The water is then reused by the city (and by downstream users like San Diego).

The returned water gets credited to Las Vegas as part of the calculation specifying how much water the city can draw from Lake Mead, so IPR is integral to keeping those showers and faucets running. Because of that allowance, the IPR operation in Las Vegas is commonly referred to as “Return-Flow Credits.”

Since San Diego is only now preparing to undertake a study of a small-scale IPR operation for itself while Las Vegas is already doing it full-scale, I decided to see if I could visit the Las Vegas facilities and get a feel for how IPR has worked out for them. Not only were they willing to allow me to visit, the Southern Nevada Water Authority graciously scheduled a whole series of tours for me over a three-day period. That was a special treat after a disappointment I had when I asked to visit the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant a short distance from my home in San Diego and the reply was “The Federal government made us stop the tours following 9/11 and they haven’t allowed us to start them again.”

My visit last week included visits to the two existing water pumping and transmission facilities at Lake Mead as well as the third intake under construction, the Alfred Merritt Smith Water Treatment Plant, the River Mountains Water Treatment Plant, the Water Quality Laboratory and Applied Research & Development Center, the Clark County Water Reclamation District, the Las Vegas Wash, and Lake Mead & Hoover Dam.

I’ll need to digest everything I learned and intend to write about it in the future, but for now I’d like to share some photos from the visit. You can click them for enlargements.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Indirect potable reuse, Water | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

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, http://www.purewatersd.org, 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.]

 

Posted in Indirect potable reuse, Water, Water Purification Demonstration Project | 5 Comments »

In pursuit of water for San Diego

Posted by George J Janczyn on August 2, 2010

Check this tidbit from a new National Geographic series on global water issues:

Throughout the Southwest, and particularly in a region that I know, the Colorado River Basin, the so called “water buffalos” (those who line their pockets with virtual water) commonly talk about this river as though it has not run dry.

In Las Vegas I interviewed Mulroy and saw the largest reservoir in the nation, Lake Mead, sunken to an alarming low tide. So low, in fact, that the Southern Nevada Water Authority is drilling a pipeline under the lake so that it can continue to take its share until the river-fed reservoir runs dry.

Take a look to the east of Las Vegas with Google or Bing satellite images and you can find lakeside developments and boat launch ramps near Lakeshore Rd. that are stranded far from the water (and those images could be years old, it was better then). I sometimes wonder if Lake Mead will ever again look full; indeed, if everybody doesn’t cut back on their withdrawals, I wonder if it will ever stop dropping. Las Vegas doesn’t seem optimistic about that.

Northern California and the Delta are another unpleasant thought. Natural disasters and political and legal warfare between statewide environmental, agricultural, and urban/rural interests are a constant threat to a stable supply of water for San Diego.

Either way, San Diego clings to the extreme end of a couple of long, worn, tenuous, lifelines — with lots of hangers-on above us.

So, in the spirit of reducing reliance on outside water, the San Diego City Council just approved a small-scale demonstration IPR water treatment facility. For one year it will produce 1 million gallons per day while limnology models are studied and water quality is analyzed. After the demonstration is finished, San Diego will face a bigger decision — whether to expand that into a full-scale IPR reservoir augmentation system producing 16 million gallons per day.

That’s not very much water. During the debate over the demonstration facility, one of Councilmember Sherri Lightner’s stated reasons for opposing the plan was that it’s too small to make a difference. In that I think she’s right. It’s not much water, and I suspect the modest parameter of the current project reflects political timidity about IPR more than a realistic appraisal of our situation and feel sure that many regional water agency planners would agree. Certainly the just-released Equinox Center report would agree.

The output of the Carlsbad desalination plant will be 50 million gallons per day. That’s a fair amount of water. Why don’t we aim higher for IPR as well? While there’s still time for us to make adjustments to the design plan, I think it would behoove us to instead at least match that 50 mgd. If we’re going to do IPR, we should do it in serious volume.

I don’t think it can be repeated enough: San Diego’s in no position to relax about developing local water sources, and our options are limited. It certainly doesn’t look good for us if a drain under Lake Mead is now needed for Las Vegas as the water level drops below their “drinking straw.” In San Diego we’ve pursued desalination, we’ve pursued conservation, we’ve pursued more groundwater, but we’ve hesitated about IPR. What we should do is pursue even more IPR.

A bathtub ring reveals low level at San Vicente Reservoir while the dam is being raised to increase capacity. When that's finished, IPR could help keep it full.

 

Posted in Colorado River, Environment, Indirect potable reuse, Water, Water Purification Demonstration Project | 6 Comments »

San Diego regional water news update: IPR special edition

Posted by George J Janczyn on July 27, 2010

Reaction on San Diego City Council’s approval of an advanced water treatment facility for its Water Purification Demonstration Project (IPR) on Tuesday, July 27, 2010.

(click headlines to see sourced stories)

Council supports recycled sewage plant / Voice of San Diego“San Diego’s City Council voted 6-2 to award a $6.6 million contract to build a recycled sewage demonstration plant today, marking a legislative shift in favor of a new water supply that’s long been politicized and, at times, demonized.”

City Council approves $6 million contract for recycled wastewater project / KPBS“The demonstration project is a small-scale test of the technology used to treat wastewater to a level where it can safely be used to augment San Diego’s reservoirs. The results will be used to determine whether the city ultimately moves ahead with IPR and to secure the required health permits from the state.”

Council OKs recycled water demonstration project / La Jolla Light“There were no speakers from the public opposed to the demonstration project, which is backed by a coalition of environmental, business and community organizations.”

Council authorizes contract for water recycling project / 10News“The total cost of the demonstration project, which was first approved by the City Council in 2007, is $11.8 million. The funds will come from an already approved water rate hike.”

Toilet-to-tap of recycled water approved / San Diego 6 “The council voted 6-2 to authorize the three-year contract with Massachusetts-based Camp Dresser and McKee to design, build and run the Indirect Potable Reuse, or IPR, demonstration project.”

Contract for water plant OK’d / SignOnSanDiego“…nearly a dozen speakers representing groups ranging from the Sierra Club and Surfrider Foundation to the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and the San Diego Building Industry Association came to show their support.”

City Council approves water recycling project / San Diego Source“Water reclamation has the potential to provide a safe, reliable, drought-proof and cost effective water supply in the region, and decrease sewage discharge into the ocean. If the project proves successful, it could reduce the region’s dependence on imported water from the Colorado River and San Joaquin Delta.”

We live in fear / San Diego Reader“On Tuesday, July 27, San Diego’s city council dove into the issue of “indirect potable reuse” and members debated whether to allocate $6.6 million to Camp Dresser McKee to design, install, procure, and operate a demonstration-scale advanced water purification facility at the North City Water Reclamation Plant near UTC.”

Council taps water purification project / Building Industry Association of San Diego“Several councilmembers stressed that while they voted for the project, it should not be construed as a vote for IPR but rather support for a fact finding process.”

 

Posted in Indirect potable reuse, Regional water news roundups, Water, Water Purification Demonstration Project | Leave a Comment »

San Diego IPR Coalition sends message to City Council in support of water reuse project continuation

Posted by George J Janczyn on July 24, 2010

This is a letter sent to the San Diego City Council in support of an advanced water treatment plant needed for the Water Purification Demonstration Project approved years ago but threatened by Councilmembers who would like to see the project killed. A vote on the plant is scheduled for the July 27, 2010 meeting of the San Diego City Council.

The Indirect Potable Reuse Coalition (IPR Coalition) was formed in late 2009 to perform public outreach and advocacy for the Indirect Potable Reuse process (to purify reclaimed water) as a component of San Diego’s drinking water supply.

 

Posted in Indirect potable reuse, Politics, Water | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Helix Water District looks to diversify water supply

Posted by George J Janczyn on July 22, 2010

When it comes to water “trade deficits” (i.e., importing too much water), all of San Diego County’s water agencies know they should be less reliant on distant sources. Depending on which of the 24 water agencies in the county you look at, some 80-90% of their water supplies are imported from Northern California and the Colorado River.

It has been painfully obvious that such a high degree of reliance on distant water sources places the county in a dangerously vulnerable position and our water managers continually struggle to find ways to reduce that dependence. One agency, the Helix Water District — San Diego County’s second-largest water agency — imports water on the higher end of the scale mentioned above, and they may finally get to change that.

Although water conservation efforts inside the Helix district have resulted in a reduction to about 112 gallons per capita per day as of June 2010, and even more is hoped for, conservation alone won’t resolve supply and reliability issues. With that in mind, Helix has announced the beginning of an environmental review process for a new venture, the El Monte Valley Project.

El Monte Valley looking east. El Capitan Dam is around the bend. The ribbon of green trees in the valley center marks the San Diego River Bed. On the right you can make out where the flume used to be (built in the 1880s to bring water 33 miles from Cuyamaca Dam).

El Monte Valley is located in Lakeside just west of El Capitan Dam, north of Lake Jennings, and east from Mapleview St (near where the freeway segment of Highway 67 begins).

The multi-faceted El Monte Valley Project aims to generate an additional 5 million gallons of water per day (that much can supply up to 15,000 families in their service area, which means about 15% of the district’s needs). That’s a big improvement over the 3.3% that local sources now provide.

In addition to producing a supplemental water supply, the Helix plan envisions extensive riverbed restoration with native plants, public recreational space for hiking and equestrian use, and wildlife habitat. A portion of the valley previously zoned for mining will be tapped for sand and gravel which will be sold to help defray project expenses and to help re-contour the riverbed for the restoration.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Environment, Helix Water District, Indirect potable reuse, Water | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

San Diego regional water news roundup June 18-23, 2010

Posted by George J Janczyn on June 24, 2010

 


City looks into earth-friendly solar power / The Coast News“OCEANSIDE — SunEdison presented an overview of a proposed solar photo-voltaic system at a community workshop held June 9. The solar system promises to fuel part of the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation facility at a lower cost and reduce the plant’s carbon footprint.”

Indirect potable reuse: the solution to San Diego’s water crisis [student contest essay] / Voice of San Diego“Purified wastewater is completely safe for drinking and has the potential to alleviate environmental strains and aid in reversing San Diego’s water crisis.”

Helix votes to hike water rates — again / East County Magazine“By a 3-2 vote, Helix Water District’s Board on June 16 voted to increase water rates as recommended by staff. Board members Kathleen Coates Hedberg and De Ana Verbeke opposed the rate hike, while members Richard Smith, John Linden and Chuck Muse voted in favor of raising rates. The rate hike would average 8.8% per household, or an average of $10.06. But higher water users may pay up to 12% more.”

Lutar: Taxpayers support and need Carlsbad desalination project [commentary] / San Diego News Network“As an independent, non-profit organization fighting for the rights of California’s taxpayers, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association believes the Carlsbad Desalination Project is an innovative public-private partnership that protects taxpayers from financial risk while providing a desperately needed new drinking water supply.”

County Water Authority prepares for major quake / 10News“The most recent earthquakes to shake San Diego have raised more awareness of the possibility of a major earthquake hitting southern California, but water officials said they have already begun preparing.”

Water conservation in Calexico to remain until treatment facility is operational / Imperial Valley Press“Water conservation here will remain in effect until technicians finish work on a facility that may not be completed until the end of July, an official said Tuesday. Calexico’s 10 million gallon clarifier was severely damaged during the 7.2-magnitude April 4 earthquake which prompted the call for residents to conserve water.”

Poseidon desal deal? Govt may rescue junk bond project / Surf City Voice“Due to soaring cost estimates and lack of private financing for a proposed 50-million-gallon per day Carlsbad desalination project, a government water agency may negotiate a takeover deal with the project’s developer, Poseidon Resources, Inc.”

Agencies ask Water Authority to save desal project / North County Times“Local cities and water districts are asking the Water Authority to take over their contract with Poseidon Resources Corp., said officials from the nine agencies involved. The Water Authority is scheduled to consider that request at its board meeting Thursday, according to its agenda.”

CA Attorney General’s office threatens lawsuit against Padre Dam after water district defies Native American Heritage Commission, continues construction at site deemed sacred / East County Magazine“Community leaders testify on Viejas’ behalf, ask Padre’s water board to find alternative solution;
Viejas to ask judge on Friday to extend injunction”

More questions about public pensions — at Helix Water [commentary] / La Mesa Today“The Saturday edition of the U/T reported a planned 8.8% hike in water rates for the Helix Water District (HWD). This outrageous action is another instance of our elected representatives putting the well being of public sector employees above their constituents. While the HWD Board asks ratepayers for more money, they continue to pay outrageous benefits to their employees.”

 

Posted in Helix Water District, Indirect potable reuse, Poseidon Desalination Plant (Carlsbad), Regional water news roundups, San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA), Water, Water rates | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

A photo tour of San Diego’s North City Water Reclamation Plant

Posted by George J Janczyn on June 15, 2010

If you live in a northern San Diego neighborhood and took a shower this morning, the water you washed down the drain probably ended up at this location within an hour or two.

“This location” is the North City Water Reclamation Plant (NCWRP), a large-scale state-of-the-art facility that can treat up to 30 million gallons of wastewater per day.

NCWRP is located at the northeast corner of I-805 and Miramar Road but the grounds are camouflaged behind high slopes with landscaping and the only entrance is from Eastgate Mall on the opposite side of the property. Drivers passing on Miramar Road or the freeway are unlikely to even notice it unless they already know about it.

The plant treats wastewater to tertiary standards, meaning that the treated water is clean enough for irrigation, landscaping and industrial use.

A portion of the plant’s grounds will soon see new construction on an even more advanced water treatment facility. The new facility will be used for the City’s Water Purification Demonstration Project, a scientific study to evaluate the feasibility of purifying reclaimed tertiary water to a state that is as clean or cleaner than the raw untreated water the city now imports from the Colorado River and Northern California.

If the study proves successful, the City will propose blending the purified reclaimed water with the imported raw water and storing it in the soon-to-be enlarged San Vicente Reservoir. The water would then be aged in the reservoir to allow natural conditioning processes to work. Finally, as is now the case, the reservoir water would be piped to one of the city’s water treatment plants where it would be processed into drinking water ready for distribution to customers. Also, the Helix Water District is working on its own El Monte Valley Project that will use IPR water to recharge groundwater that it uses for its service area in La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, and unincorporated areas near El Cajon. The source of the highly advanced treated water for this project may also be the City of San Diego’s North City Water Reclamation Plant or else the Santee Water Recycling Facility which presently supplies water for the Santee Lakes.

One term used for this treatment process is Indirect Potable Reuse, or IPR. It’s sometimes called “planned indirect potable reuse” because in reality the Colorado River contains treated wastewater from Las Vegas and other communities on the river, so we already do unplanned indirect potable reuse for our drinking water.

I recently joined a group of UCSD students for a guided tour of the reclamation plant. Brian Drummy, Senior Public Information Officer for the Metropolitan Wastewater Department, provided a very interesting guided tour of the facilities. He kindly supplied the captions for these photos as well. Thanks Brian! And by the way, about that shower water arrival time…that was only my guess as I couldn’t find out how fast wastewater really travels through the system.

(click any thumbnail for enlargement)

Wastewater is sent through this bar screen system, which gathers and removes large debris.

Plant’s control room, where all of the plant’s processes are monitored.

Primary clarifier, where heavy particles sink to the bottom of the tank and are removed.

Pumps, pipes and tanks within the odor control building.

Top of the aeration tanks, where wastewater is mixed with bacteria that helps decompose organic pollutants.

Secondary clarifier, where organic solids sink to the bottom of the tank and are separated from the treated wastewater.

Secondary clarifier, showing the exit channels for the wastewater.

Exit channels in the secondary clarifier.

EDR (Electro Dialysis Reversal) area of the plant, where portions of the reclaimed water receive additional treatment for removal of dissolved solids.

EDR (Electro Dialysis Reversal) area

EDR (Electro Dialysis Reversal) area

Chlorine contact basin where recycled water is treated with chlorine to kill any remaining bacteria.

 

Posted in Indirect potable reuse, Technology, Water | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Council committee to recommend contract for Indirect Potable Reuse facility

Posted by George J Janczyn on June 14, 2010

The City of San Diego’s project to evaluate the production of drinking water using the Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) process is a step closer to beginning.

The San Diego Public Utilities Department has asked the City Council’s Natural Resources and Culture Committee to recommend City Council approval of an agreement for an Advanced Water Purification Facility to be constructed as part of the Indirect Potable Reuse/Reservoir Augmentation Demonstration Project.* The item was placed on the committee’s June 16 agenda as a consent item. Items on the consent agenda are usually considered non-controversial and are typically quickly approved.

The agreement calls for a $6.6 million contract with a private company named Camp Dresser and McKee. The company (and a sub-consultant referred to only as “MWH”) would have authority to “design, procure, install, test, and operate” the purification facility. Work would begin in fall 2010 and take three years to complete. The facility will be located on the grounds of the North City Water Reclamation Plant at Miramar Road & I-805.

Executive summary sheet written for the committee from the Public Utilities Department

Also on the committee’s agenda is the Monthly IPR update for June from the Public Utilities Department. The update mentions that an outreach communication plan for the IPR project is in final draft status, that a database of community leaders is being developed in order to hold stakeholder interviews, and that a speakers bureau will be a large part of the outreach effort.

* I was told by Eric Symons, Supervising Public Information Officer for the Public Utilities Dept. that the committee will also discuss a name change for the project, from Indirect Potable Reuse/Reservoir Augmentation Demonstration Project to Water Purification Demonstration Project.

 

Posted in Environment, Indirect potable reuse, Water | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

San Diego lags on smart water policy

Posted by George J Janczyn on May 16, 2010

Even though the rainy season was a good one for California, it really doesn’t change San Diego’s supply picture or our near-complete reliance on water imported from hundreds of miles away through pipelines and canals. It’s good that San Diego’s residents are becoming increasingly aware of the precarious position we’re in and have responded positively, although sometimes relatively small accomplishments are overblown with hyperbole and politics. We’ll briefly look at that and then I have a few suggestions for what should come next.

941 two-bedroom market-style apartments under construction a few years ago near Naval Station San Diego

The San Diego City Council recently approved an ordinance that requires new apartment developments to have a separate water meter for each unit. Councilmember Marti Emerald’s press release calls the initiative “cutting edge” and boasts that San Diego is “setting the standard for water conservation in our region and the rest of the state.”

I wonder if she knows that Santa Monica passed a similar ordinance ten years ago. Anyway, the new measure only applies to new apartment construction, not existing structures, and even with new construction, high-rise apartment buildings are exempt from the submetering requirement.

Meanwhile, Councilmember Donna Frye worries that with mostly good news about the state’s water reserves, San Diegans will quickly revert to more wasteful ways, so she wants to make San Diego’s water restrictions permanent. The San Diego Water Department and Mayor Sanders are opposed to that idea, though, partly because the city’s policy would be at odds with the policies of the other county water agencies where the restrictions are temporary, which would lead city residents to complain about being singled out.

The San Diego Union-Tribune jumped on Frye’s bandwagon saying:

“San Diego County has two main sources of water, the Colorado River and Northern California. Supplies from the Colorado are not likely to increase much in coming years. Our water future lies in Northern California, more storage capacity, more desalination plants and conservation…. Voters in Northern California will have to be convinced that residents of Southern California are doing everything we can to conserve…”

[i.e., in order to garner northerners’ support for the $11.1 billion state water bond to finance local and regional water projects]

First, Colorado supplies “not likely to increase much” is a bit off the mark: the truth is that we were taking more Colorado River water than we had rights to and we can’t do that anymore (it belongs to Arizona and Nevada). If anything, we can expect even more reductions from the Colorado. Plus, take a look at this chart showing the river’s supply vs. demand:

Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is increased demand causing our shortages, not drought.

Second, implying that we’ll take even more water from Northern California (and suggesting we should keep conserving in order to counter objections from the north) is hardly the message we want to be sending. The signal we should send is that we’re well aware we shouldn’t be taking more than we already are, although we do need to do something to defend against a catastrophic cutoff of the existing flow due to delta levee failures from an earthquake and/or salt water intrusion from rising sea levels.

The editorial correctly observes that storage capacity, desalination, and conservation are important and indeed, we’re making progress there: we’re more than doubling the capacity of San Vicente Reservoir, the Poseidon Desalination project is proceeding, and we’re doing a fair job of conserving water and should definitely go on conserving.

That brings us to two things we hear very little about.

1. Water pricing to reward conservation and penalize waste. San Diego ought to enact a water rate structure modeled after the one used at the Irvine Ranch Water District. Their rate structure defines a typical household’s size and water needs with a water budget. Price tiers are: low-volume, base rate, inefficient, excessive, and wasteful. Prices are graduated to penalize use above the estimated household need. There’s flexibility, too. If one’s household holds more people than average and requires more water than the standard model provides, one can apply for a variance to accommodate the extra need and avoid being penalized.

For some reason, this idea of water budgets with pricing incentives has been resisted by city officials and unless we put some pressure on, they’re likely to continue avoiding the issue.

2. Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR). In my opinion, IPR has the potential to provide San Diego with a tremendous amount of “new” water, although at present it is only being contemplated as supplying a small fraction of our water needs. San Diego is currently setting up a study to determine whether IPR can be used to augment our water supplies.

IPR is usually defined as the augmentation of a drinking water source (surface water or groundwater) with recycled water, followed by an environmental buffer that precedes normal drinking water treatment.

Alvarado Water Treatment Plant at Lake Murray

In San Diego’s IPR study (also referred to as Reservoir Augmentation Demonstration Project), basically it is to determine the feasibility of taking recycled water and purifying it with highly advanced treatment. This treated water would then be blended with raw water coming in from the Colorado River and Northern California and stored at San Vicente Reservoir to age for a specified period of time. Incidentally, the purified recycled water would actually be of better quality than the imported raw water in which it is blended! Next, as is done now with imported raw water in San Vicente, the blended water would eventually go for drinking water treatment at a plant such as the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant at Lake Murray.

During the IPR study, 1 million gallons per day (MGD) will be produced. If the study proves IPR is feasible and if the city council and mayor ultimately approve an IPR reservoir augmentation plan, 16 MGD would be produced, according to Eric Symons, Public Information Officer from the San Diego Water Department.

How much water is that? Consider that irrigating Balboa Park requires around 1.5 million gallons per day.

Personally, I think even 16 MGD is too modest a goal. We should be thinking at least 50 MGD…for starters. Over the long term, IPR opens the possibility to very significant amounts of water, limited only by how much we use in the first place!

Unfortunately, there is a public perception problem. Some people have taken to using the terms “Toilet-To-Tap” or “Purified Sewage” to refer to water produced through the Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) process. These not only sound disparaging, they also obscure the extra processes which IPR represents.

To summarize: wastewater (or sewage) is treated to tertiary recycled water standards. IPR then puts that tertiary water through advanced treatment for purification and disinfection.

A 2007 city study found that IPR water quality was equal to or better than the imported raw water stored in our reservoirs. That water then goes to a potable water treatment plant like Alvarado.

Still, the public perception problem is only that: perception. Consider: Las Vegas and other communities along the Colorado River empty their treated wastewater into the river (one of our imported sources), so it would be correct to say that we’re now doing unintentional or unplanned indirect potable reuse — without the benefit of additional treatment. The planned indirect potable reuse program being studied gives water more treatment and more rigorous quality control than our current water gets. If you look at it that way, it’s actually strange that people would react so negatively to the idea of planned IPR to augment our supplies.

So, how about some support, Councilmembers Frye and Emerald? With a smart water pricing policy and expansion of the reservoir augmentation program beyond 16 MGD, we might just offset the effects of reduced deliveries of imported water.

Posted in Indirect potable reuse, Politics, Water, Water conservation | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »