Water is the key to distilling—and distilling traditionally
uses a lot of water for fermentation, proofing, and especially
cooling. … Blinking Owl is in a rare position in
California. Orange County, where the distillery is located, has
one of the largest groundwater reclamation systems in
the world. This allows Blinking Owl to rely on its local
municipal system to provide a sustainable option. Friesen notes
that water conservation is a problem that’ll require both
municipal and industry solutions.
A routine maintenance test will be conducted Wednesday for the
1-mile outfall from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, which
was the site of a massive sewage spill this summer. The plant
annually tests its three bypass gates to ensure they are
properly functioning. During the tests, which will occur
Wednesday and Thursday from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., 250,000 gallons
of fully treated and disinfected wastewater will be released
through the 1-mile outfall and then pumped back into the plant
before reaching the ocean.
Higher-quality drinking water and more new construction revenue
are on the way in Riviera Beach.
Jacksonville-based Haskell Company was selected by
the city Tuesday over two other firms to design and build a new
$150 million water treatment plant. … Haskell plans to
build the new facility in 36 months. The firm, which plans to
employ several local sub-contractors, built a
1.1-million-square-foot craft beer brewery for Anheuser-Busch
in California and the Baptist Medical Center in
Evaluating the cost and energy tradeoffs of new water supply
sources in water-stressed regions, whether seawater
desalination plants, long-distance water transfer, or
wastewater reuse facilities, requires a robust understanding of
the full lifecycle costs of water supply from source
acquisition through treatment and distribution for a specific
location. The reliability of the urban wastewater stream has
made recycling and reusing wastewater an attractive strategy
for enhancing water supply resiliency, offering suppliers the
ability to quickly recover from disruptions and withstand
persistent or severe drought while also reducing costs in
For the past decade, water officials in San Diego have been
testing technology that would provide the city with a new
source of drinking water. In a pilot facility loaded with tubes
and tanks, a five-step process filters and disinfects
wastewater, turning it into potable water cleaner than what
comes out of most people’s faucets.
Riviera Beach is expected Tuesday to select one of the
three teams vying to design and build a new water treatment
plant for the city that could cost as much as $150 million.
Federal, state and city money is expected to pay for the new
plant. The city is in the midst of a building boom that
includes new municipal offices, new fire stations and new
facilities for other government services. But city officials
have said no project in recent history is more important than
replacing the city’s water treatment plant, which was
completed in 1958.
Around the U.S., cities are increasingly warming to an idea
that once induced gags: Sterilize wastewater from toilets,
sinks and factories, and eventually pipe it back into homes and
businesses as tap water. In the Los Angeles area, plans to
recycle wastewater for drinking are moving along with little
fanfare just two decades after similar efforts in the city
sparked such a backlash they had to be abandoned.
In southern Calif., the Yucaipa Valley Water District (YVWD)
Board of Directors have approved a 28-year energy contract with
ENGIE North America for a customized solar, storage and
microgrid project. YVWD will prioritize the adoption of
clean-powered energy to improve its water energy nexus at two
of its most critical locations, the Yucaipa Valley Regional
Water Filtration Facility and the Wochholz Regional Water
The City of Oceanside continues to be at the forefront of water
management in San Diego county with projects like WaterSmart
meters and Pure Water Oceanside that demonstrate the city’s
commitment to deliver clean, safe and affordable water. A
recent Voice of San Diego report showed Oceanside has among the
lowest water rate increases in the county with an average 13.7%
increase from 2017 to 2022. Compare that to the sizeable 38%
increase in water rates for Del Mar during the same 5 year time
Anchor Brewing, San Francisco’s oldest brewery, just added an
on-site water treatment plant to their operations that has the
capacity to recycle up to 20 million gallons annually —
equivalent to water usage for more than 1,300 residents. It
takes an average of seven gallons of water to produce one
gallon of beer. While beer is 95% water, the majority of the
water entailed in the production of beer involves equipment
cleaning and bottle rinsing.
San Diego County has been planning ways to increase its
sustainable water supply and one of the planned methods is
through turning wastewater into potable water. There are three
sites planned in the county and the first one, Pure Water
Oceanside, is set to open before the end of 2021.
If California American Water Co. was trying to delay an
intergovernmental agency’s vote to allow efforts by the
Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to move forward in
its effort to acquire the assets of Cal Am, as many people
charged on Monday night, it worked. Unanimous votes from
appointed commissioners of the Local Agency Formation
Commission of Monterey County, or LAFCO, continued any decision
on prerequisites needed for a buyout until Dec. 6 following the
submission of hundreds of pages of documents, leaving
commissioners little time to review them before Monday’s
Wouldn’t you know it? Just like washing your car, almost the
moment I finished writing this article, the skies opened
up. I’d write one every day if it meant ending our water
woes. But it tells you everything you need to know about
California’s dire water situation – that the atmospheric river
that recently pummeled Northern California and other parts of
the state doesn’t even begin to make a dent in our drought. And
it highlights the urgency for California to create more water.
Much more. -Written by Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of
the Bay Area Council, a nonprofit public policy
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has granted a
$224 million loan to the City of Los Angeles. The loan will be
used to fund a project that aims to purify wastewater and
replenish the depleted San Fernando Basin. The project, called
The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA),
aims to purify 15.5 million gallons of the city’s wastewater
every day, a move that would replenish both the basin and its
aquifers – a body of rock that can contain or transmit
Anchor Brewing is San Francisco’s oldest operating brewery,
producing its flagship steam beer since 1896. Now it’s making
history in a new way. The brewery will soon operate the city’s
largest commercial water reuse facility. Instead of dumping out
water after rinsing fermentation tanks and cleaning bottling
lines, Anchor will collect, treat and recycle much of what used
to go down the drain.
The Water Research Foundation (WRF) recently published research
to inform California’s Direct Potable Reuse Regulations. It
will be used by the California State Water Resources Control
Board (SWB) Division of Drinking Water to develop direct
potable reuse regulations in California by 2023 and ensure the
protection of public health. The research was funded under a
$1.4 million grant from SWB to advance protective practices for
The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District, also known
as Regional San, completed a $564 million wastewater treatment
project this summer that uses bacteria to remove more than 99%
of ammonia from sewer water. The operation, which is called the
Biological Nutrient Removal project, is a part of a larger
undertaking called the EchoWater project. The EchoWater project
was established by Regional San to comply with regulations and
to ensure clean water quality.
Construction is underway in Seaside on a major water pipeline
that will help deliver recycled water to California American
Water Co. customers along the Monterey Peninsula. The $5.5
million pipeline will run parallel to an existing line that is
carrying water north from the Carmel River as part of the
Aquifer Storage and Recovery system, or ASR. The program sends
water north from the river during peak winter flows that is
then injected into the Seaside Basin as a type of savings
account that can be used later.
In many parts of California, reminders abound that the American
West is running out of water. “Bathtub rings” mark the
shrinking of the state’s biggest reservoirs to some of their
lowest recorded levels. Fields lie fallow, as farmers grapple
with an uncertain future. A bed-and-breakfast owner spends $5
whenever a tourist showers. But not in San Diego County. In
this coastal desert metropolis, life has stayed mostly the same
for residents already accustomed to conserving what they have
long treated as a precious resource.
On a dusty hilltop in San Diego, the drinking water of the
future courses through a wildly complicated and very loud
jumble of tanks, pipes, and cylinders. Here at the North City
Water Reclamation Plant, very not-drinkable wastewater is
turned into a liquid so pure it would actually wreak havoc on
your body if you imbibed it without further treatment.
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.
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.
Gray water, also spelled as grey water, is water that already has
been used domestically, commercially and industrially. This
includes the leftover, untreated water generated from clothes
washers, bathtubs and bathroom sinks.
This water source is a common way to recycle water and stretch
urban water supplies. As part of this, gray water ‘harvesting’
(the collecting of gray water from sinks, showers, etc.) is
increasingly popular, especially as a way to flush toilets.
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.