Early this month, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to approve plans to recycle 30 million gallons of wastewater a day into purified drinking water by 2021. With an overall price tag of $3 billion, San Diego residents will see yearly increases in water rates in order to afford development of what can potentially reverse the region’s water supply challenges. Proponents of the program, known as “Pure Water San Diego,” explain that it will add another layer of water resiliency for residents and businesses. The program will also provide a local supply of potable water that remains unaffected by drought or the erratic and potentially uncertain future of water imports. 
Although city officials have found 31 possible environmental impacts related to the project, all have the potential to be mitigated. According to the Times of San Diego, Councilman David Alvarez, who leads the project’s Environment Committee, commented on the importance for water sustainability. “It’s the ability to control our own destiny a little bit better, to be less harmful and impactful on the environment through discharge – for many reasons – this program makes sense.” 
In two decades, and at full capacity, the project is expected to produce 83 million gallons of recycled water a day. Once complete, the Pure Water plant will produce 33 million gallons a day more than the total output of the nation’s largest desalination plant, located in Carlsbad, California. 
Soon, all eyes will be on California to see if this multi-billion project will ease tension on the region’s water supplies. Regardless, as California continues to plan for a future where water supplies are anything but secure, the Pure Water San Diego project is defining moment for the future of direct potable reuse.
Published: 11/29/2016 McAllister, Toni. San Diego Approves $3 Billion Plan to Recycle Wastewater for Drinking. Times of San Diego, October 25, 2016. Web. https://timesofsandiego.com/politics/2016/10/25/san-diego-approves-3-billion-plan-to-recycle-wastewater-for-drinking/