Oceanside’s crystal-clear vision for achieving greater water independency propels city to open first water purification facility in San Diego County
Karina Gonzalez is the digital media producer for Western City magazine; she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the drought in 2008, Oceanside knew it was time to act to ensure the community had a reliable water source. After nearly a decade of research, planning, and construction, the coastal city opened the first high-tech water purification facility in San Diego County, which will provide 30% of the city’s water supply.
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California’s arid regions make accessing safe drinking water a real challenge.
The state is in its third straight year of a severe drought, accentuating the need for new strategies to secure reliable water sources.
Following the drought in 2008, Oceanside knew it was time to act to ensure residents had access to water in the future.
“We set this very ambitious goal of 50% local water. Independence from the water authority,” Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez said.
After nearly a decade of research, planning, and construction, the coastal city opened San Diego County’s first high-tech water purification facility in December 2021.
Pure Water Oceanside uses advanced technology to purify recycled water that is safe, environmentally friendly, and will soon provide about 30% of the city’s water supply.
Like many Southern California cities, most of Oceanside’s water is imported from hundreds of miles away.
Imported water is costly, vulnerable to natural disasters like drought, and requires an enormous amount of energy to transport.
“This project is important because it provides another type of supply besides recycled water, besides potable water that can be used in a very beneficial way,” Oceanside Water Utilities Director Cari Dale said. “Where otherwise just throwing this water away through a discharge out through the ocean, now we’re reusing it and it’s supplying quite a bit of water for our customers.”
Although Oceanside is located on an aquifer, the stored water has declined in quality and quantity due to many years of depletion and drought.
Pure Water Oceanside uses state-of-the-art technology to purify recycled water that is then injected directly into the aquifer.
This process minimizes seawater intrusion, enhances water quality, and increases the quantity of water in the aquifer.
The result? High-quality, locally sourced drinking water and a supply of up to 5 million gallons of local water each day.
The $70 million water infrastructure project was made possible thanks to local partners and agencies.
Oceanside’s investment provides a reliable source of local water that will benefit residents and help stabilize water costs.
“For the community, it means affordability, reliance — it’s going to be there, and this is something that is so environmentally wonderful for our community,” Sanchez said.
Pure Water Oceanside, along with other local water reuse projects underway, help position the city to achieve its goal of creating 50% of the local water supply by 2030.
With increased local control of this valuable resource, Oceanside’s new water purification facility will help serve the community for generations to come.
“It’s just an amazing thing that we here in San Diego County are making these giant steps toward reliability, sustainability and just being environmentally kind,” Sanchez said.
To learn more about the facility, visit the Pure Water Oceanside webpage.