“This project is incredible.
This is a resounding endorsement by a representative of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which has just granted a low-interest loan of $ 388 million to the East County Advanced Water Purification Program. The program will use this money to build a permanent and much larger version of their purification system near Santee Lakes.
“[The system] will create a new local water supply for the East County, at a price comparable to imported, comparable or lower, and we hope to achieve that lower point, ”said CEO and General Manager of Padre Dam, Allen Carlisle.
Carlisle said that once construction of the system is completed in 2025, it will turn more than 11 million gallons of recycled “purple pipe” water into clean drinking water every day. He said it’s about 30% of Eastern County’s drinking water.
Currently, river basin districts like Padre Dam, Helix, and the town of El Cajon pay to import most of their water.
“Our water comes from 200 miles away from the Colorado River,” Carlisle said. “600 miles from the Bay Delta.”
“What is happening here in San Diego is truly a model for the nation. At EPA, we think it’s really essential to invest in local water supply, ”said Radhika Fox, EPA’s deputy senior assistant administrator for water.
Fox said the low-interest loan would save the program $ 130 million in construction costs. The $ 388 million loan is the largest loan granted by the EPA in East County of San Diego.
“And this project couldn’t have come at a better time given the drought,” she said.
“We are in a difficult drought and they will keep coming. The question is not whether we are going to have another drought. When is it? Carlisle added.
He said the most recent California snowpack report is 0% of what it should be this time of year. Carlisle said this highlights the importance of locally produced drinking water.