Each and every day, the Carpinteria Sanitary District sends
over one million gallons of highly treated water through our
outfall pipeline and into the Pacific Ocean. In 2016 we began
working in partnership with the Carpinteria Valley Water
District on a plan to recapture this valuable resource and
create a new, drought-proof water supply for our community. The
Carpinteria Advanced Purification Project, or CAPP, has now
moved into the final design stage. We are just a few short
years away from having a reliable source of highly purified
water that will augment our local groundwater aquifer and meet
a quarter of Carpinteria’s demand for potable water. -Written by Craig Murray, General Manager of
the Carpinteria Sanitary District.
Two small farming communities want to divorce the San Diego
County Water Authority and buy cheaper water from Eastern
Municipal Water District in Riverside County. The Water
Authority’s rates are some of the highest in the country,
especially for agricultural regions that Fallbrook Public
Utility District and Rainbow Municipal Water District serve.
That’s why those districts are trying to leave. The Water
Authority’s rates have been growing for years, but they’re
actually selling a lot less water. Mostly to blame are the
rising costs of transporting Colorado River water or making it
new by desalting ocean water. The Water Authority is staring
down billions in debt and will lose a large portion of their
sales once the city of San Diego, the Water Authority’s biggest
customer, launches its wastewater-to-drinking water recycling
program called Pure Water.
Ventura, Calif., is moving forward with its VenturaWaterPure
plan to increase the resilience of the city’s water supply
against drought, thanks to a pair of Water Infrastructure
Finance and Innovation Act loans totaling $173 million,
announced May 23 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The WIFIA loans will fund several projects, including an
advanced water purification plant.
Legal challenges to a Monterey Peninsula water district’s
ratepayer fee that dates back a least a decade reached fruition
Friday when a judge ruled against the district for a second
time. Monterey County Superior Court Judge Carrie Panetta ruled
Friday on a motion by the Monterey Peninsula Water Management
District for a new trial after Panetta earlier ruled against
the district in a lawsuit brought by the Monterey Peninsula
Taxpayers Association over a fee the district has been charging
taxpayers. If the district is stopped from collecting the fee,
called a water supply fee, it could have a huge impact on
district revenues at a time when the Monterey Peninsula Water
Management District is partnering with Monterey One Water to
invest in the Pure Water Monterey expansion project, which the
district says could supply enough water to the Monterey
Peninsula for the next few decades.
Regional San unveiled upgrades on its wastewater treatment
plant. The treated wastewater is so clean, it is being touted
as the beginning of what alternative water supplies could look
like in California. In the near future, more local farmers will
be using this recycled water for their crops. …
Regional San’s $1 billion overhaul followed after concerns of
its release into the Sacramento River and Delta. The goal?
Farmers will not have to pump as much groundwater. It is
not a new concept, but by far this wastewater treatment plant
is the second-largest facility in the U.S. The plant
processes around 135 million gallons of wastewater every day
from Sacramento County and West Sacramento. It is expecting to
deliver about 50,000 acre-feet per year to farmers once the
next phase of construction is complete.
As winter rains caused Monterey County’s rivers to swell past
capacity and rush out to the sea, people began asking: Isn’t
there a way to catch and reuse all that water? That’s what
Monterey is preparing to do through a project financed by the
state – in this case turning runoff lost to Monterey Bay into
drinking water. The Lake El Estero Diversion to Sanitary Sewer
Project will reroute drainage from the city stormwater system
at the lake into existing sanitary sewage pipes along Del Monte
Avenue, which lead to Monterey One Water’s regional treatment
plant in Marina for recycling into drinking water as part of
the Pure Water Monterey project. … Once the project is
completed, city officials estimate it will capture 100 to 173
acre-feet of water each year, depending on rainfall.
After years of historic drought in California, water recycling
has become a pressing issue – but just how much can be done
with what we’ve got? A water-recycling company is seeking to
answer that question, with help from a local brewery. The
result is a beer made from wastewater, and I can tell you from
personal experience that it’s pretty good. Epic OneWater Brew,
from Epic Cleantec and Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company, is made
from greywater recycled from showers, laundry and bathroom
sinks in a 40-story San Francisco apartment building, where
Epic has onsite equipment to capture, treat and reuse water for
On April 14, Orange County, Calif.’s Water District (OCWD) and
Sanitation District (OC San) announced that together, they had
accomplished something that has never been done anywhere else,
ever. They are purifying and recycling 100 percent of the
county’s reclaimable wastewater. The county’s Groundwater
Replenishment System (GWRS), operational and expanding
continuously since 2008, is the largest indirect potable water
reuse facility in the world…. The GWRS now provides 130
million gallons of water a day, enough to meet the daily needs
of a million residents.
Momentum is building for a unique
interstate deal that aims to transform wastewater from Southern
California homes and business into relief for the stressed
Colorado River. The collaborative effort to add resiliency to a
river suffering from overuse, drought and climate change is being
shaped across state lines by some of the West’s largest water
The southern part of California’s Central Coast from San Luis Obispo County to Ventura County, home to about 1.5 million people, is blessed with a pleasing Mediterranean climate and a picturesque terrain. Yet while its unique geography abounds in beauty, the area perpetually struggles with drought.
Indeed, while the rest of California breathed a sigh of relief with the return of wet weather after the severe drought of 2012–2016, places such as Santa Barbara still grappled with dry conditions.
Summer is a good time to take a
break, relax and enjoy some of the great beaches, waterways and
watersheds around California and the West. We hope you’re getting
a chance to do plenty of that this July.
But in the weekly sprint through work, it’s easy to miss
some interesting nuggets you might want to read. So while we’re
taking a publishing break to work on other water articles planned
for later this year, we want to help you catch up on
Western Water stories from the first half of this year
that you might have missed.
Californians have been doing an
reducing their indoor water use, helping the state survive
the most recent drought when water districts were required to
meet conservation targets. With more droughts inevitable,
Californians are likely to face even greater calls to save water
in the future.
Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.
In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)
Imported water from the Sierra
Nevada and the Colorado River built Southern California. Yet as
drought, climate change and environmental concerns render those
supplies increasingly at risk, the Southland’s cities have ramped
up their efforts to rely more on local sources and less on
Far and away the most ambitious goal has been set by the city of
Santa Monica, which in 2014 embarked on a course to be virtually
water independent through local sources by 2023. In the 1990s,
Santa Monica was completely dependent on imported water. Now, it
derives more than 70 percent of its water locally.
This 2-day, 1-night tour offered participants the opportunity to
learn about water issues affecting California’s scenic Central
Coast and efforts to solve some of the challenges of a region
struggling to be sustainable with limited local supplies that
have potential applications statewide.
California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.
Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.
This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current
state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an
overview of the geography and history of the river, historical
and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of
the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership
with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an
excellent overview of climate change and how it is already
affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists
anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and
precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are
underway to plan and adapt to climate.
20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater,
and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and
turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource
through various activities.
This 7-minute DVD is designed to teach children in grades 5-12
about where storm water goes – and why it is so important to
clean up trash, use pesticides and fertilizers wisely, and
prevent other chemicals from going down the storm drain. The
video’s teenage actors explain the water cycle and the difference
between sewer drains and storm drains, how storm drain water is
not treated prior to running into a river or other waterway. The
teens also offer a list of BMPs – best management practices that
homeowners can do to prevent storm water pollution.
As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water
supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing
treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including
irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge
and industrial uses.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water provides an
overview of the history of water development and use in Nevada.
It includes sections on Nevada’s water rights laws, the history
of the Truckee and Carson rivers, water supplies for the Las
Vegas area, groundwater, water quality, environmental issues and
today’s water supply challenges.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to California
Wastewater is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication
that provides background information on the history of wastewater
treatment and how wastewater is collected, conveyed, treated and
disposed of today. The guide also offers case studies of
different treatment plants and their treatment processes.
In California, home to nearly 40 million people and a desert
climate in large parts of the state, efficient water use is
critical. In the face of such demand and a limited supply, water
recycling is increasingly common throughout the state. Major
water recycling plants are already operating or in development in
places like San Diego and Orange counties while a
multi-billion-dollar plant has been proposed in nearby Los
Wastewater management in California centers on the collection,
treatment, reuse and disposal of wastewater. This process is
conducted largely by public agencies, though there are also
private systems in places where a publicly owned treatment plant
is not feasible.
In California, wastewater treatment takes place through 100,000
miles of sanitary sewer lines and at more than 900 wastewater
treatment plants that manage the roughly 4 billion gallons of
wastewater generated in the state each day.
Grey water, also spelled as gray water, is water that already has
been used domestically, commercially and industrially. This
includes the leftover, untreated water generated from washing
machines, bathtubs and bathroom sinks.
This printed issue of Western Water features a
roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources
consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development
with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor
to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial
page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of
research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of
This printed issue of Western Water looks at the energy
requirements associated with water use and the means by which
state and local agencies are working to increase their knowledge
and improve the management of both resources.
When a drought occurs as it has this year, the response is
couched in the three Rs of the waste hierarchy: reduce, reuse and
The reduction part is well-known. State and local officials are
urging people to use less water in everything they do, from
landscape irrigation to shorter showers. Spurred by California’s
difficulties, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on June 4 declared a
statewide drought. On July 10, the governor and Sen. Dianne
Feinstein announced their support of the Safe, Clean, Reliable
Drinking Water Supply Act of 2008 – a $9.3 billion bond proposal
that would allocate $250 million for water recycling projects.
This issue of Western Water examines the continuing practice of
smart water use in the urban sector and its many facets, from
improved consumer appliances to improved agency planning to the
improvements in water recycling and desalination. Many in the
water community say conserving water is not merely a response to
drought conditions, but a permanent ethic in an era in which
every drop of water is a valuable commodity not to be wasted.
Water is the true wealth in a dry land – Wallace Stegner
One hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt signed
legislation that changed the course of American history and
permanently altered the landscape of the western United States.
The West of today retains some of the vestiges of the land that
brought the explorers, entrepreneurs and dreamers hundreds of
years ago. Despite the surge in population, vast tracts of
wilderness remain – forests thick with evergreen trees and
seemingly unending open spaces where human inhabitants are few
and far between.
Drawn from a special stakeholder symposium held in September 1999
in Keystone, Colorado, this issue explores how we got to where we
are today on the Colorado River; an era in which the traditional
water development of the past has given way to a more
collaborative approach that tries to protect the environment
while stretching available water supplies.