April 23 – San Diego City Council Approves Water Purification

Water Reliability Coalition says new safe, reliable drinking water could supply up to 40 percent of City of San Diego’s demand


Today, the San Diego City Council unanimously approved moving forward with implementing water purification in San Diego. The Water Reliability Coalition (WRC), a broad-based affiliation of environmental, consumer, business, labor, development, taxpayer and technical organizations, applauds the City of San Diego for approving next steps to develop a safe, reliable drinking water supply that could service up to 40 percent of the city’s needs.

“Last week the Colorado River was named the most endangered river in the county, yet this is the main source of our drinking water. It’s monumental for the City of San Diego to take this huge step toward producing our own safe drinking water to relieve our dependence on the Colorado,” said Jill Witkowski, San Diego Coastkeeper’s waterkeeper and WRC Co-Chair.

Four years ago, the City of San Diego began a “demonstration project” to show that advanced water treatment technologies can make water safe enough to augment our water supply. Currently, the City of San Diego uses about 200 million gallons of water each day. If built to full capacity, the water purification system could produce up to 88 million gallons each day, or 40 percent of the city’s needs.

Today, the council approved the final report for the Water Purification pilot project and directed City staff to develop a plan and timeline for next steps to implement full-scale water purification in San Diego. The timeline is due in 90 days. Following committee direction, City staff is directed to ensure the plan maximizes our water supply and reduces the need for upgrades at the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant. Doing so has the potential to save ratepayers nearly $1 billion in upgrades at the plant.

“This crucial move by the City of San Diego will help reduce the increasing burden of sending ratepayers dollars outside our region,” said WRC Co-Chair and San Diego County Taxpayers Association Interim President & CEO Chris Cate. “All water purification data points toward this water supply as one of the most economically feasible options for our region.”

Water Reliability Coalition Co-founder and Equinox Center Executive Director Lani Lutar said: “We can always benefit from more conservation, but we’re now entering into a new stage in this region’s water independence. Our economic prosperity and our quality of life depend on finding new safe water supplies that also protect our environment.”

The Coalition believes recycling water for potable use can be an important part of San Diego’s water supply portfolio diversification and could provide one of the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly options to enhance local water supplies.


The Water Reliability Coalition is a broad-based affiliation of environmental, consumer, business, labor, development, taxpayer and technical organizations that have come together to support exploration of Indirect Potable Reuse as a potential strategy to develop a safe, reliable, sustainable & cost-effective local water supply.

Coalition members include: BIOCOM; Building Industry Association; Building Owners and Managers Association, San Diego Chapter; Business Leadership Alliance; Citizens Coordinate for Century 3; Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation; Empower San Diego; Endangered Habitats League; Environmental Health Coalition; Equinox Center; Friends of Infrastructure; Industrial Environmental Association; National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, San Diego Chapter; San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council; San Diego Audubon Society; San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation; San Diego Coastkeeper; San Diego County Taxpayers Association; San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce; San Diego River Park Foundation; Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter; Sustainability Alliance of Southern California; Utility Consumers’ Action Network