A $388 million water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could drive projects that focus on water reuse in San Diego County, California.
Rebuilding San Diego's water infrastructure
A $388 million WIFIA loan from the US EPA could provide the necessary stimulus to accelerate a water reuse project in San Diego County, California.
San Diego is looking to produce purified water from the Advanced Water Purification Project to meet 30 per cent of East County’s drinking water demand.
The project also aims to increase the reliability of its water network in the drought-stressed region, reduce its dependence on water imported from out of state and increase climate resilience.
“Once fully operational, the project will be able to treat up to 16 million gallons of wastewater per day.”
Purified water will be produced from East County's wastewater and then sent to the Lake Jennings Reservoir, the local drinking water supply.
Once fully operational, the project will treat up to 16 million gallons of wastewater per day.
“Water infrastructure is one of the best investments we can make to improve public health and the environment, create jobs, and address pressing challenges that face our communities,” said Radhika Fox, the EPA’s principal deputy assistant administrator for Water.
In total, the Advanced Water Purification Project will cost $791 million, but the EPA's WIFIA loan will cover a large portion of that figure.
This project is part of President Biden's American Jobs Plan, which plans to invest $111 billion in water infrastructure programs across the US.
California's drought rages on
The announcement comes as California, and most of the west of America is facing one of its worst droughts in recent times.
The US Drought Monitor has recorded that much of the state is in exceptional drought conditions. Yet, the frequency of Californian water shortages suggests extreme drought is emerging as a long-term trend exacerbated by climate change.
“The East County Advanced Water Purification Program is an investment to stabilise East County’s drinking water and wastewater rates while also safeguarding our future generations."
It has been just two years since the last extreme water shortage event in the US, and it appears this time America is keen to make sure it prepared for the next one by investing in schemes like the Advanced Water Purification Project.
“The East County Advanced Water Purification Program is an investment to stabilise East County’s drinking water and wastewater rates while also safeguarding our future generations," said Allen Carlisle, the East County Program Administrator and Padre Dam Municipal Water District CEO/general manager.
Carlisle added: "By ensuring they [...future generations] have a clean, pure, reliable and high-quality drinking water supply that is local, reliable, safe, drought-proof and environmentally sound.”
The multi-billion dollar water plan
When President Biden was elected in 2020, many wondered what a ‘blue’ presidency meant from water.
So when Biden unveiled the $2 trillion 'American Jobs Plan' back in April this year, improving America's water infrastructure was one of his main ambitions.
While projects such as the Advanced Water Purification Program focus on introducing water reuse systems to help ease the pressure on local drinking water resources, the investment of $50 billion into these projects will drive resilience and recycling programmes.
The plan also intends to overhaul most of America's existing water network. It is estimated that six to 10 million homes in America still receive their drinking water via lead pipes. A total of $45 billion is being allocated to replace these lead pipes.
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