Recycled Water Service
EMWD is widely viewed as an industry leader in recycled water. EMWD regularly uses 100 percent of its recycled water supply for beneficial use within its 555-square mile service area. EMWD is one of the largest by-volume recyclers in the nation and one of the few agencies that achieves 100 percent beneficial reuse, a strategic objective established by its Board of Directors.
The History of EMWD’s Recycled Water Program
EMWD has been treating wastewater (sewer) within its service area since the 1960’s. Originally, treated effluent was disposed of through on-site percolation/evaporation ponds. As flows increased, EMWD began marketing recycled water within its service area, delivering recycled water to local farmers for the irrigation of feed and fodder crops and began extending transmission facilities to deliver this recycled water to new customers.
In 1991, EMWD applied for and received funding through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to develop a recycled water backbone transmission system, which greatly expanded EMWD’s ability to deliver recycled water to a growing customer base. Subsequent facility improvements in the recycled water system are now in place linking all of EMWD’s regional water reclamation facilities (RWRFs). Beginning in 2003, system pressurization projects were implemented to provide the level of service required for municipal and industrial customers throughout the majority of the recycled water system. In 2011, EMWD again received funding from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and began the construction of multiple system stabilization projects, including pumping facilities and elevated storage to improve the reliability of the recycled system.
Recycled Water Today
EMWD’s recycled water system currently receives and treats more than 45 million gallons of wastewater each day at its four operating regional treatment plants. The treated water is then distributed throughout the service area, through more than 200 miles of pipeline.
Recycled water is in great demand. About 75 percent of EMWD’s production is sold to agricultural, irrigation, landscaping and industrial customers. EMWD serves several schools, parks, cities and county streetscaping, HOA landscape areas, golf courses, wetlands habitat areas and industrial use for cooling towers.
Among the crops that can use tertiary water are potatoes, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, sugar beets, grain crops, citrus, avocado, grapes, sod farms, fiber, fodder, seed crops and ornamental nursery stock.
Learn more about EMWD’s Recycled Water Program:
The Future of Recycled Water
Recycled water plays an important role in achieving our goal of developing a drought-proof and sustainable water supply for our customers. EMWD has the ability to store more than 2 billion gallons of recycled water. That’s equal to three to four months’ worth of supply.
With significant urban development anticipated in the coming decade, EMWD is prepared to manage the corresponding increase in recycled water production. In addition to offering new development the use of recycled water to irrigate common areas and public landscaping, EMWD is securing the regions’ water future through Water Banking and is exploring the use of Purified Water Replenishment in an effort to expand existing groundwater reliability efforts.