Unlike groundwater which can be depleted, or State Water Project water which can be subject to drought, recycled water is a renewable and drought-proof water supply which will be available as long as we generate wastewater.
Recycled Water use in the SCV
Recycled water is highly treated wastewater that is used for non-drinking water purposes. Recycled water has been delivered to the community since 2003. Currently, SCV Water delivers an average of 475 acre-feet per year to 13 irrigation sites, including a golf course, shopping center and street medians.
Enhancing Our Water Supply Reliability
The use of recycled water is a key component of our conservation and water use efficiency programs as every gallon of recycled water used results in a gallon of drinking water that can be saved for potable domestic uses.
Other benefits of using recycled water for irrigation include:
- a locally controlled, drought-proof water supply
- less need to release recycled water into the Santa Clara River
- environmentally responsible - the same concept that drives the recycling of bottles, cans and paper.
The Future of Recycled Water in SCV
While recycled water currently represents a very small percentage of our water supply, we have projects underway that seek to expand our capacity from 450 acre-feet per year (about 147 million gallons) to 10,000 acre-feet per year (more than 3 billion gallons). SCV Water plans to expand the use of recycled water to additional large landscape irrigation and industrial users throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
The challenge is two-fold. First is the need for additional “purple pipe” infrastructure. The recycled water distribution system uses separate pipelines from the domestic drinking water system and is denoted by purple pipes, systems and signage. Our “Purple PREP” program is working with future potential recycled water customers to ease the transition when the recycled water supply becomes available.
Second is the challenge of diverting additional recycled water from the current discharge into the Santa Clara River due to permitting requirements from regulatory agencies. The river ecosystem has become dependent on the current discharge from the local wastewater treatment plants. SCV Water has developed an innovative system to track each “new drop” of recycled water that is created, before it enters the river, which can then be diverted to expanded purple pipe networks.
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