Water Treatment in San Diego County and the Southwestern U.S .


WaterTreatment in San Diego County and the Southwestern U.S


WaterRecycling in San Diego

Locatedin the most populous state in the United States and with a semi-aridclimate San Diego has found itself growing beyond its water storagecapacity. At the beginning of the 20th century the population inCalifornia was growing astronomically (Fudge, 2012). In the first twodecades the state recorded a more than 20 percent increase, but thegreat depression of the 1920s immigration significantly reduced to alow as 23,063. Round the same time, many of the foreign workers weredeported to their countries. Events of the Second World War led tothe boom of the wartime industries which attracted many workers fromdifferent parts of the country and foreign lands (Fudge, 2012). Thisincreased the state’s population to over 10 million. After WorldWar II the influx of migrant groups continued at an unprecedentedrate, a phenomenon that continued in the two decades that followed.In the late 1970s, California population had doubled reaching 19million. The high level of taxes and increased cost of liv9ing hassignificantly curtailed immigration into California especially afterthe millennium. Currently, the San Diego County is home to more than1,345,895 residents (Fudge, 2012).

Withclimate change threatening to shrink the water supply in the SanDiego and South West region, most of the urban areas are taking intoconsideration the potential of reclaiming water. San Diego has hadmore than ten years of successful water reclamation, where toiletwater is recycled and purified into tap water. On average San Diegohas 41 days of precipitation, which is lower the country’s averageof 70 (Fudge, 2012). The county has 146 sunny days and average yearlyprecipitation is less than 12 300mm. This result into a climate thatbounders arid climate. Generally, rainfall is stalwartly concentratedin the cooler half of the year, though precipitation in San DiegoCounty is the lowest in the United States West Coast.

Turningtoilet water into tap water has been one of the ingenious waysidentified by public utility department to solve the issue of waterin the county. Over the year the cost of imported water hassignificantly gone up, by more than 85 percent in the last one decadeand the prices do not show any signs of going down (Monks, 2014).. Ithas also been approximated that the cost of imported water in thecounty and other South West region will increase by more than doubleby 2020. The department has found it cheaper to recycle water thanimport.

InSan Diego, the recycling pilot plan has offered new hope of solvingthe drinking water conundrum in the county. At the Orange CountyWater District, a water recycling plant called ground waterReplenishing System is producing 70 million gallons of water everyday, which is enough to serve more than 500,000 people ( Barringer,2012). This is one of the largest indirect potable reuse facilitiesin the globe. Reclaimed sewage water is treated for differentstandard based on its intended purpose, whether irrigation ordrinking water. The technique applied in the treatment process isidentical to the desalination technology where water is pumped viamembrane filters and then further cleaned. Indirect potable reuse isthe gobbledygook given to the recycling of sewage water. The termindirect is used to refer to the fact that water purified water ispumped into ground water aquifer so that it can mix with local watersupply.

However,in San Diego County there is more than making water available throughrecycling of sewerage water. The public concern over the safety ofrecycled sewage, what has commonly come to be referred to as the‘yuck factor’ has threatened to stall the project and success ofthe project ( Barringer, 2012). Initially the idea of recyclingsewage water to increase available drinking water in the county wasmet with immense opposition but over the years, public perception ischanging with more than 70 percent of residents in the countysupporting the idea (Barringer, 2012). If the cost of accessing safedrinking water shall continue to fall and public approval andacceptance continue to increase, waste water (Indirect potable reuse)can become a chief security against the projected shortage of thiscentury.


Barringer,F. (2012). As ‘Yuck Factor’ Subsides, Treated Wastewater Flows From Taps.Environment. The New York Times. Retrievedfrom:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/science/earth/despite-yuck-factor-treated-wastewater-used-for-drinking.html?pagewanted=all&amp_r=0

Fudge,T. (2012). SanDiego Seeks a Swifter Current For Water&nbspRecycling. KPPS. Retrieved from:http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/dec/10/san-diego-seeks-faster-current-water-recycling/Monks.(2014). Fromtoilet to tap: Getting a taste for drinking recycled waste water.CNN. Retrieved from:http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/01/world/from-toilet-to-tap-water/