Making The Most of Every Drop

1 Drop Recycled = 1 Drop Less To Source

Water and wastewater agencies across San Diego County are developing or expanding water recycling projects, because every gallon of recycled water reduces the need to import or develop other supplies. Approximately 35,000 acre-feet of recycled water is beneficially reused within the Water Authority’s service area annually, and the volume is expected to continue growing as new and expanded plants come online.

The Water Authority has supported the development of recycling projects for decades, though membership in groups such as the WateReuse Association and collaborative efforts to promote local reuse efforts.

Recycling Process & Uses

Water recycling is the treatment and disinfection of municipal wastewater to provide a water supply suitable for non-drinking purposes. Agencies in San Diego County use recycled water to fill lakes, ponds, and ornamental fountains; to irrigate parks, campgrounds, golf courses, freeway medians, community greenbelts, school athletic fields, food crops, and nursery stock; to control dust at construction sites, and for street sweeping.

Recycled water can also be used in certain industrial processes and for flushing toilets and urinals in non-residential buildings. Additional uses for recycled water are being identified and studied. Some of the Water Authority’s member agencies are also developing advanced water treatment projects for potable reuse.

info grpahic of water recycling process

Regulations Protect Public Health

In California, recycled water use is permitted and overseen by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and its nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards. The State Water Board establishes standard conditions for recycled water use and conditionally delegates authority to an administrator to manage a water recycling program and issue water recycling permits to recycled water users.

State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water

The State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water (DDW) regulates California’s public drinking water systems and oversees a variety of drinking water-related activities including recycled water. The DDW establishes the statewide effluent bacteriological and treatment reliability standards for recycled water uses in Title 22 of the California Administrative Code.

Regional Water Board

The Regional Board establishes and enforces requirements for the application and use of recycled water within the state. Permits are required from the Regional Board for each water recycling operation.

County Department of Environmental Health and Quality

The Department of Environmental Health and Quality (DEHQ) regulates the use of recycled water through a delegation agreement with DDW.