Friday, November 20, 2015 / by Kimo Quance
On April 10th, 2015, Santee Lakes welcomed some fresh...water. Located on Fanita Parkway, the Santee-based water district unveiled its Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Plant. Dam officials lauded its unveiling as they hope it will help make Santee sufficient in times of drought.
California's Changing Climate
With the lowest recorded snowpack in California’s history and the Level 2 Drought Alert condition that has been in place since November, California Governor Jerry Brown announced mandatory statewide water restrictions.
Coupled with Padre Dam's total reliance on imported drinking water and the potential economic cost of a severe shortage, a water crisis looms overhead. This is an appalling prospect as livelihoods and citizens' well-being all depend on having a reliable source of water.
The new Purification plant uses advanced reverse osmosis and oxidation to purify and test up to 100,000 gallons of recycled water each day.
A New Source of Water
According to Allen Carlisle, CEO and General Manager of Padre Dam, “The full scale Advanced water purification project can provide a reliable water source that can cater for up to 20 percent of Padre Dam’s current drinking water supply.” Carlisle said that after further treatment, the water eventually produced is close to distilled-quality drinking water.
The new facility is a demonstration facility, so the water from this facility will not be utilized in the drinking water system. It is set to run for one year to thoroughly test its capacity and productivity.
A Long Term, Region-wide Solution
A full scale plant is planned for 2020, according to Padre Dam Director of Engineering Al Lau. “My hope is this critical condition California finds itself in will assist Padre Dam in securing funding and regulatory approval to help us to move quickly with our plans for Advanced Water Purification,” he said.
The technology used in this plant is similar to that used in Orange County which can produce 70 million gallons per day. It's also similar to that found in Scottsdale, El Paso, Singapore, Brisbane, even on the International Space Station.
Padre Dam embarked on this project so that it can continue to offer uninterrupted water supply services to its over 100, 000 residents in Santee, Alpine, Blossom Valley, Crest, Dehesa, El Cajon, Flinn Springs, Harbison Canyon and Lakeside.