San Diego Approves $3 Billion Plan to Recycle Wastewater for Drinking

The San Diego City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to certify an environmental impact report for the city’s ambitious $3 billion plan to recycle wastewater into drinking water, and approved the plan itself. Supporters of the “Pure Water San Diego” program say it will provide residents and businesses with a stable, local supply of potable water that won’t be affected by drought or the uncertainties of future water imports. The product will be purified and mixed with water from traditional sources before it’s delivered to customers. A city staff report said city officials aim to begin delivering 30 million gallons of recycled water a day within five years. By the time Pure Water is fully implemented in about two decades, it will create 83 million gallons of drinking water per day. That’s 33 million gallons more than the output of the desalination plant that opened last year in Carlsbad. Councilman David Alvarez, who heads the panel’s Environment Committee, said “sustainability, an ability to control our own destiny a little bit better, to be less harmful and impactful on the environment through discharge — for many reasons — this program makes sense.”

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