Water recycling : San Diego starts building Pure Water sewage recycling system

© San Diego / Pure Water

The US-City of San Diego relies on importing 85 percent of its water supply from the Colorado River and Northern California Bay Delta. The cost of this imported water has tripled in the last 15 years and continues to rise.

With San Diego’s existing water system, only 8 percent of the wastewater leaving homes and businesses is recycled; the rest is treated and discharged into the ocean. The Pure Water Program should transform the City’s water system into a complete water cycle that maximizes our use of the world’s most precious resource—water.

The project "Pure Water San Diego" is a phased, multi-year program that will provide 1/3 of San Diego’s water supply locally by 2035. The Pure Water Program will use proven technology to clean recycled water to produce safe, high-quality drinking water, will provide a reliable, sustainable, water supply and will offer a cost-effective investment for San Diego’s water needs.

All hurdles cleared

The program is ready to start building the long-awaited Pure Water sewage recycling system, now that city officials have resolved litigation that delayed the project 18 months and increased its estimated cost to $5 billion, city officials say.

All regulatory permits have been secured and construction bids are being opened and analyzed for the t4en projects that will make up Pure Water phase one, a large treatment facility slated to open in 2025 near Miramar that will be connected to many miles of pipeline in the northern part of the city.

City officials also are making key decisions for Pure Water phase two, a separate recycling facility near San Diego International Airport that is slated to start operating in 2035 with its own miles of pipeline farther south.

A new city analysis projects that the 83 million gallons of recycled water per day Pure Water will produce — 30 million in Miramar and 53 million at the airport — will make up half San Diego’s water supply in 2045.