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Public Utilities

Mayor Faulconer: Legal Settlement Allows Pure Water to Break Ground

Agreement Between City of San Diego and Associated General Contractors Allows Largest Infrastructure Project in City History to Move Forward

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE 

SAN DIEGO – In a major milestone toward reaching the City’s water efficiency and independence goals, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and the Associated General Contractors of America, San Diego Chapter (AGC) today announced a settlement has been reached in the legal dispute allowing Pure Water San Diego – the largest infrastructure project in City history – to move forward.

“San Diego is well on its way to meeting our ambitious climate action goals, and securing a safe, independent water supply for our region is an absolutely critical part of that commitment,” Mayor Faulconer said. “With today’s agreement, the Pure Water project is free of any legal setbacks and we will soon break ground on the most important infrastructure project in our City’s history. This is an investment in our future that will provide San Diego the reliable water supply we need for our economy to grow and our city to thrive.”

Today’s agreement removes any legal barriers to Pure Water San Diego’s phased, multi-year approach using proven technology to clean recycled water to produce 83 million gallons of safe, high-quality water a day. With the completion of Phase II, the Pure Water program will provide one-third of San Diego’s water supply by 2035, a key pillar in the City’s Climate Action Plan

In early 2019, the City began soliciting construction contract proposals to build the North City Pure Water Facility, the first phase of the overall Pure Water project with certain proposals requiring apprentices used on the Project be registered in a Joint Labor Management Apprentice Program (JLMAP).

In response AGC sued the City, challenging the JLMAP requirement by alleging it was a proxy for a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) requirement in violation of the City’s charter. In June 2019, Judge John S. Meyer granted AGC’s motion for a preliminary injunction, which halted the City’s process of soliciting bids ultimately delaying movement on the project based on a requirement that bidders use apprentices registered in JLMAPs.

Under the agreement’s terms approved by the City Council, AGC and the City agreed to the following:

  • The City will pay AGC $200,000 to cover legal fees associated with the dispute
  • AGC will dismiss the Superior Court case challenging the specifications of the 2019 bid for the North City Pure Water Facility Project (AGC v. City)
  • AGC will dismiss its appeal with the Superior Court which challenges the constitutionality of AB 1290 (AGC v. State of California)
  • AGC agrees not to file future litigation against the City concerning a requirement of a project labor agreement on any Pure Water San Diego Program project that is covered by AB 1290

“Pure Water is an important project for our region, and AGC members are excited to be a part of the team that delivers a locally-controlled water supply,” said Eddie Sprecco, Chief Executive Officer of Associated General Contractors of America, San Diego Chapter. “We appreciate Mayor Faulconer and City officials who worked with us to reach this settlement so this vital project can move forward.”

In August, the City issued construction bids for the North City Pure Water Facility as the first of several bids for the Pure Water program, which is expected to deliver more than 1,000 green jobs aiding in the regional economic recovery effort.  

With San Diego’s existing water system, only eight percent of the wastewater leaving homes and businesses is recycled; the rest is treated and discharged into the ocean. The Pure Water program offers a cost-effective investment for San Diego's water needs and will provide a reliable, local and sustainable water supply.

More information about Pure Water San Diego is available online at