Pure Water San Diego Moves Forward
By Ana Gomez Salcido
The City’s Pure Water San Diego program took a major step forward with City Council approval to begin the first phase of construction.
The vote authorizes San Diego Mayor, Kevin L. Faulconer to award construction contracts to the lowest responsible and reliable bidders for the various projects in Phase 1, including the future North City Pure Water Facility. Construction is scheduled to start this spring.
“This will be one of the most important infrastructure projects in city history and puts San Diego on the path to water independence for the first time,” Faulconer said. “Pure Water will deliver a safe, reliable and sustainable source of water for all San Diegans for generations to come. It’s just the latest example of how we’re leaving a cleaner San Diego than the one we inherited.”
Pure Water San Diego is a phased, multi-year program that uses proven technology to clean recycled water to produce safe, high-quality water. The Pure Water program will provide one-third of San Diego’s water supply by 2035 and supports the ambitious goals of Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan.
The first phase of Pure Water – scheduled to 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.
Under the initial phase, the North City Pure Water Facility will be built on a City-owned parcel east of Interstate 805 and north of Eastgate Mall – across from the existing North City Water Reclamation Plant. The purified water produced there will be delivered to Miramar Reservoir and blended with the City’s imported and local water sources before being treated again at the Miramar Water Treatment Plant and distributed to customers. The phase also includes construction of new pump stations and pipelines, as well as upgrades to existing facilities.
The Pure Water program will also divert wastewater flows away from the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, which treats wastewater before it’s piped into the ocean. That will allow for a higher level of treatment for wastewater and eliminate the need for plant upgrades, which would cost ratepayers billions of dollars.
The City Council also recently approved a loan that will finance nearly half of the first phase of Pure Water San Diego. 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.
WIFIA 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.