San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, along with state and federal leaders, formally kicked off construction of Phase 1 of the city’s $3 billion Pure Water program on Aug. 20. The project is intended to provide nearly 50% of the city’s drinking water by 2035 and reduce the need for imported water.
Stantec is co-ordinating the project.
“Today, we celebrated the launch of the largest, most ambitious infrastructure project in San Diego’s history,” Gloria said. “The Pure Water program will guarantee us a local water resource that allows San Diego to be drought-resilient and environmentally sustainable. This is a key part of how we will provide clean drinking water to our residents for generations to come.”
Pure Water will use purification technology to clean recycled water and produce what is touted as safe, high-quality drinking water, NBC-7 reported.
“Sweeping drought conditions, exacerbated by climate change, population growth, and historical over-drafting of water resources, have made meeting our water needs an enduring challenge,” said Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego. “Just this week, U.S. officials declared the first-ever water shortage on the Colorado River, a critical water source for Southern Californians.”
“That said, San Diego has been on the leading edge of water recycling with our Pure Water program. It will deploy cost-effective technology that will enhance our region’s water sources — technology that could one day be deployed by other communities to address water shortages,” Peters said.
Phase 1 of the project includes 11 construction projects, including the North City Pure Water Facility and Pump Station, which is being built across the road from the North City Water Reclamation Plant, the broadcaster reported. The other Phase 1 projects include pump stations and pipelines.
“Pure Water is a legacy project that promises to deliver a reliable source of clean water to our region for decades to come,” said Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. “That is why I advocated for $50 million in this year’s state budget to support Phase 1 of this vital infrastructure project.”
Funding for as much as $733.5 million for the program’s Phase I projects is provided by two Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans from the EPA. As well, Additional funding for the construction of the project will come from Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans in the amount of $665.1 million, and more than $80 million in federal and state grants, which do not need to be repaid.
The city will also receive a $340 credit from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for every acre-foot — enough water to supply up to four households for a year — produced for 25 years. This corresponds to a credit of $285.6 million over the life of the agreement, project leaders said.