Toilet to aquifer: A potential solution to CA's water crisis

Dive Brief:

  • Orange County, CA’s water purification plant recently had a $142 million expansion that will grow its capacity to 100 million gallons a day, with a future target of 130 million gallons.
  • Decried by opponents decades ago when Los Angeles first built a water purification plant, critics opposed to recycling wastewater called it a "toilet to tap" approach. But government officials were able to do an end-run around that perception, by reclaiming the water and putting it back into the region’s aquifer, not directly into its water supply. This method could become more common across the nation.
  • While water recycling is pretty common for irrigation, selling the idea to consumers who are grossed out by the thought of it has become less difficult as California has experienced drought after drought. But such water reuse is also being tried elsewhere in the nation, including in Texas. The San Diego City Council recently approved a $2.9 billion Pure Water project.

Dive Insight:

Americans have traditionally looked to the West to dream of new possibilities, begin new careers, and make new homes and business. California has often been the destination point of big dreamers, and the state’s ever-increasing population, and its booming economy, create more of a drain on the region’s water resources every year. But it’s not just a question of household needs, but also of vital importance to the agricultural sector, with its huge water demands. Providing enough water for residents and businesses is essential to California’s economy, and also to the nation’s economy.

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Filed Under: Recycling
Top image credit: DS Services of America