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Public Utilities

Pure Water Moves Forward with Major EPA Loan, Construction to Start in 2019

City Council Approves $614m Loan For Water Recycling Project Under Federal Loan Program Aimed At Accelerating Investment In The Nation’s Water Infrastructure

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – The City’s efforts to create one-third of its own water supply by 2035 took a major step forward today with City Council approval of a loan that will finance nearly half of the first phase of Pure Water San Diego – a multi-year program that will use proven water purification technology to clean recycled water to produce safe, high-quality drinking water.

The $614 million loan comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program and will cover 49 percent of the $1.25 billion project. There will be a second reading of the ordinance by the City Council in two weeks to officially authorize the loan.

“This federal funding is a recognition that our Pure Water Program is cutting edge and a worthy investment for San Diego’s future water independence,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “This is going to be one of the most significant infrastructure projects in city history and will deliver clean, reliable water to our residents for decades to come.”

The WIFIA Program was created to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. Benefits include a single fixed interest rate locked at loan closing and a customized repayment schedule over a 35-year period.

The Pure Water program will offer a cost-effective investment for San Diego's water needs and will provide a reliable, sustainable water supply. The program will eventually recycle up to 83 million gallons of wastewater per day. It is one of the major sustainability projects that support Mayor Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan.

The first phase of Pure Water – scheduled to begin construction in 2019 and open in 2021 – would expand the City’s potable water production capacity by 30 million gallons per day to replace the use of imported water. It calls for new construction, upgrades to existing facilities and construction of new pump stations and pipelines. The new North City Pure Water Facility would be constructed on a city-owned parcel east of Interstate 805 and north of Eastgate Mall – across from the existing North City Water Reclamation Plant.

The second and third phases of Pure Water will build water facilities and pipelines in the Central Area and South Bay, respectively.

CONTACT: Greg Block at (619) 227-3752 or