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Encinitas recycled water project takes step forward

This storage tank once held potable water but was converted to hold recycled water.
(Photo by Jared Whitlock)

A drought-proof source of water will soon flow to much more of Village Park in Encinitas.

Local water officials on Nov. 16 celebrated the completion of the first phase of the Village Park Recycled Water Project. It will supply homeowners associations, three local schools and common areas in the community, reducing the need for costly imported water.

“Every drop of recycled water saves potable water for the entire county,” said Olivenhain Municipal Water District board member Christy Guerin.

The Olivenhain water district teamed on the project with the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, tasked with transforming raw water into recycled water so it’s suitable for landscaping, agriculture and other uses. Officials from the agencies marked the big step forward with a valve-turning ceremony in front of the storage tank, which once housed potable water but was converted to store up to 1 million gallons of recycled water.

The cost of the first phase was $2,031,370. Of that, the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority provided $1,200,614 and the Olivenhain water district contributed $180,756. The remaining $650,000 came from a California Proposition 84 grant.

It’s estimated that the project, expected to be finished by summer 2016, will provide more than 114 million gallons of recycled water to Village Park per year. By comparison, the Olivenhain water district delivers more than 700 gallons of recycled water annually throughout its territory, which includes the eastern half of Encinitas, parts of Carlsbad, Elfin Forest and 4S Ranch.

Recycled water will first go to Diegueno Middle School, Flora Vista Elementary and Oak Crest Middle School, and then 30 of about 50 HOAs in Village Park will follow, according to George Briest, the Olivenhain district’s engineering manager.

This project is a good example of the North County Regional Recycled Water Project, an effort to beef up recycled water infrastructure throughout the region, said Olivenhain district General Manager Kimberley Thorner. One goal of the partnership is to link up agencies that have a demand for recycled water with North County facilities that can supply it.

“It’s amazing what you can do when agencies work together,” Thorner said.


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