Faulconer, Environmental Leaders Urge City Council to Advance Innovative Project to Boost Local Water Supply

Water Recycling Project Would Provide 1/3 of SD Water Supply by 2035, Reduce Reliance on Costly Imported Water

San Diego - Today Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer was joined by San Diego's leading environmentalists to urge the City Council to move forward with the Pure Water San Diego program, an innovative approach to use recycled water for one-third of the City's water supply by 2035 and ensure San Diego has a local, drought-resistant and reliable source of water.

"Pure Water is an innovative project that will improve the lives of all San Diegans in every neighborhood," Mayor Faulconer said. "I'm bringing people of all walks of life together - environmental groups, business organizations and regional leaders - to solve our water problems and move our city forward. This is one of the city's most critical projects that will help our region grow and thrive, and establish San Diego as a national environmental leader."

A critical step toward implementing the Pure Water San Diego program comes Tuesday when the City Council votes on a renewal application for the modified discharge permit for the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant. The federal permit is required for the plant to continue its current operations. In addition, the Council will be asked to authorize Mayor Faulconer to enter into a cooperative agreement with local environmental groups - San Diego Coastkeeper, Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter, Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation and the San Diego Audubon Society - in support of the Point Loma permit and Pure Water San Diego.

"San Diego is at the end of the pipe, and we need solutions now," said Marco Gonzalez, executive director of the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation. "This is going to give us a new, drought-proof water source that we desperately need to succeed as a region."

The Pure Water San Diego program is designed to purify enough wastewater to provide one-third of San Diego's water supply after all three phases are fully operational in 2035. The 20-year capital improvement project calls for the construction of a nearly $2 billion water-purification plant on Harbor Drive and installation of advanced purification at the North City Water Reclamation Plant and the South Bay Water Reclamation Plant. The three facilities would eventually produce 83 million gallons per day.

The project would divert wastewater flows away from the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, which treats wastewater before it's piped into the ocean. That would allow for a higher level of treatment for wastewater and negate the need for billions of dollars to outfit the Point Loma plant with a secondary water treatment system.

"For our community to continue to prosper it will take truly integrated water management and infrastructure approaches," said Matt O'Malley of San Diego Coastkeeper. "The Pure Water program is exactly this type of approach, dealing with ocean water quality improvement while also providing a locally-controlled drinking water supply."

This local supply of water will help the City reduce costly imported water purchases and improve San Diego's water supply independence.

"Water reuse makes more and more sense for ratepayers as the drought continues," said Sean Karafin of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. "The investment in Pure Water will increase our local supply and, in the long run, it will lower costs for ratepayers."

Mayor Faulconer and city officials have been working together over the past 16 months with a diverse group of stakeholders, partners and local environmental groups to reach consensus on a strategy to submit the modified permit renewal application for the Point Loma plant, implement Pure Water San Diego and work to obtain approval of secondary equivalency for the Point Loma plant.

CONTACT: Craig Gustafson at (619) 453-9880 or [email protected]