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Water recycling in Southern California receives $100M funding from federal government

  • Water recycling in Southern California receives $100M funding from federal government
  • Pure Water Southern California to receive nearly $100 million to advance development of new climate-resilient water supply.

About the entity

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a regional wholesaler that delivers water to 26 member public agencies – 14 cities, 11 municipal water districts, one county water authority.

Metropolitan Water District’s program to create a new water supply for Southern California by purifying water currently being sent to the ocean received a funding boost from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton announced the $99.2 million in funding for Pure Water Southern California at an event held at the regional recycled water program’s demonstration plant in Carson, where she was joined by U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano, California State Water Resources Control Board Chair Joaquin Esquivel and representatives from Metropolitan, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, and other water agencies that were awarded federal funds.

“Adequate, resilient and safe water supplies are fundamental to the health, economy and security of our communities. Investment in water recycling and reuse are key to stretching limited water supplies, making systems more resilient to the effects of aridification in the American West,” Touton said. “Water recycling is an innovative and cost-effective tool that can help make our water supplies more reliable, helping communities find new sources to meet their needs today, but most importantly to meet our needs in the future.”

Metropolitan and the Sanitation Districts are partnering on the Pure Water project, which will take cleaned wastewater that is currently sent to the ocean and purify it using an advanced, multi-stage purification process to produce high-quality drinking water. If approved by Metropolitan’s board, at full scale, the program will produce 150 million gallons of water each day – enough to meet the demands of 500,000 homes – that will be delivered to groundwater basins, industrial facilities and two of Metropolitan’s water treatment plants.

Water recycling is an innovative and cost-effective tool that can help make our water supplies more reliable, helping communities find new sources to meet their needs today, but most importantly to meet our needs in the future

“Purified recycled water isn’t just a new supply of water, it is a climate-resilient one. That is precisely what we need as climate change challenges us with increasingly dramatic swings in weather, when every drought seems to be worse than the one before. Having a dependable supply of water, unaffected by the weather, will provide our communities a critical source of reliability,” said Metropolitan board Chair Adán Ortega, Jr. “We are immensely grateful to our federal partners for their support.”

The newly announced federal funds will help advance design work and improvements to existing infrastructure needed for the project. Construction could begin as soon as 2026 and the first water could be delivered in 2032.

Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil thanked Commissioner Touton and the Biden administration for their investment in the Pure Water program.

“Ensuring Southern California has a reliable water supply takes us all working together. And it also benefits the entire state and country, not just the 19 million people who live here. Our businesses and industries are an economic engine for the nation. And we need water to make that engine run,” Hagekhalil said.

“The Pure Water demonstration project is primed to evolve and become a long-term solution to meet the needs of our region’s water demands using our last untapped source of wastewater,” said Robert Ferrante, general manager and chief engineer of the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. “We are grateful for the generous support of our agency partners and the Bureau of Reclamation’s financial commitment to help us achieve this goal.”

The funding announced today comes from the newly established Large-Scale Water Recycling Program, funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides $450 million over five years to large water recycling projects in the West. A total of $179 million in grants were announced today. In addition to Pure Water Southern California, grant funds were also awarded to large-scale recycling projects being developed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the city of Ventura and the Washington County Water Conservation District in Utah.

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