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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently commended the Orange County Water District and Orange County Sanitation District for partnering in the development and construction of the Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System, a state-of-the-art water purification project that takes highly treated sewer water and purifies it to near-distilled quality water.
In the Governor's letter to the districts, he states: "California's economic and environmental future is enhanced by our ability to maximize precious resources. The GWR System is an environmentally responsible approach for securing alternative sources of water. It increases Orange County's water independence by creating a drought-proof supply of safe, clean water.
"I commend you for your ingenuity in promoting water efficiency and conservation. Your efforts save energy, minimize wastewater released to the Pacific Ocean and help sustain healthy water resources for future generations."
Just last month, OCWD and OCSD held the official groundbreaking ceremony for the multi-million dollar project that will provide approximately 23 billion gallons of new water each year for Orange County beginning in 2007. The event, held on the OCWD water campus in Fountain Valley, attracted nearly 200 officials, including Congressmen Ken Calvert, 44th District; Dana Rohrabacher, 46th District; Ed Royce, 40th District and Loretta Sanchez, 47th District; as well as other community, industry and government leaders from around the state and country.
Using high-tech membrane purification systems backed by ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide disinfection, the GWR System purifies sewer water to a level similar to bottled water. Then, the water is put into our groundwater basin for further natural treatment before it is extracted for later use.
The technologies used for this project are the same as used by baby food manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and bottled water companies. Half of the water produced from the GWR System will be injected along the coast to revitalize the seawater intrusion barrier that keeps the ocean from contaminating Orange County's groundwater basin. The need to expand the seawater barrier, coupled with the need for locally controlled, high-quality water, is the driving force behind the project. When the project is complete in 2007, it will provide enough water for 144,000 families annually. The new water can be produced for less than the cost of imported water in 2007 and uses one-half the energy required to import water from Northern California.
The Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System, a new high-tech water purification system, will produce water similar in quality to bottled water. Once complete, the GWR System will:
o Help with future water reliability in Orange County and throughout Southern California;
o Help provide reliable water during future droughts;
o Save energy by producing very high quality water for one-half the energy that it takes to bring water here from Northern California; and
o Produce such high quality water that it will help "soften" the content of the groundwater basin, which eventually will mean longer appliance life.<