Recycled Water Master Plan will be a game changer

OCEANSIDE — It is still a month off before the Utilities Commission will see the Recycled Water Master Plan that will be a game changer for city water stability.

The master plan will spell out where recycled water pipelines will transport grey water to irrigate agriculture, golf courses, commercial industry and landscaping.

Jason Dafforn, water utilities division manager, said there are three sectors of major water users the pipelines will service within 10 years.

In three years the first recycled water pipeline will be laid from the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility to the northeast sector of the city, which includes Morro Hills agriculture and the Arrowood Golf Course.

A second pipeline will follow to provide recycled water to El Corazon commercial industrial businesses, and the 212-acre park.

In about 10 years a third pipeline will transport recycled water south of Route 78 to El Camino Country Club and other major water users.

The benefits will be substantial.

There will be a significant reduction in potable water use.

Customers who use recycled water for irrigation and industry will be charged less per gallon, which will allow them to amortize costs of facilities and installation over ten years.

They will also be immune to mandatory water cutbacks since recycled water is off the supply grid.

The city has already set the stage for reclaimed water to be used.

In 1991 an ordinance was passed that required all new developers to design dual water line systems which would facilitate reclaimed water.

In 2004 a resolution spelled out design and installation guidelines.

At the July 15 meeting the commission took another step forward and voted to delete the 1991 ordinance that no longer applies, and add a recycled water article that fits the updated master plan that will be shared next month.

Prior to taking action commissioners discussed how much advanced notice businesses and residential customers would receive if they were located within a sector of the city that required them to make retrofits to use recycled water.

There were concerns that homeowner associations, that may use recycled water to irrigate common landscaping, would need sufficient time to notify homeowners of retrofit costs in order to cover costs and stay within compliance.

Dafforn assured commissioners each pipeline would go through an extensive building process that would include community input.

He added outreach to high water users had already begun.

“It’s a huge capital investment on our end,” Dafforn said. “We want to make sure target customers are on board.”

The commission recommended six-month notification be given to affected customers before each of the three pipeline projects begins.

The approved deletion, added article, and recommendation will go to the City Council for final approval prior to reviewing the master plan.

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