The Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System in Orange County will receive $2.25 million in federal funding for fiscal year 2006, according to an appropriation bill signed into law on November 19, 2005 by President George W. Bush. The $2.25 million appropriations is part of $20 million authorized for the project by Congress in 2000. With its 2006 fiscal year funding, GWR System will have received a total of nearly $16 million in federal funding since the project
began in 2000.
"Water reuse is an essential component of our water future," said Phil
Anthony, president of the Orange County Water District. "We are grateful that through its funding of this project, Congress continues to recognize the importance of developing new water sources in this arid region of the country."
The GWR System is a joint project of the Orange County Water District and Orange County Sanitation District and will provide approximately 23 billion gal of water each year for Orange County beginning in 2007. The GWR System will take highly treated sewer water from the Orange County Sanitation District, currently sent to the ocean, and will purify it to near-distilled water quality. The water will be used to expand an existing underground seawater barrier that helps prevent ocean water from intruding into the groundwater basin, and to replenish the groundwater basin managed by the Orange County Water District.
The GWR System uses high-tech membrane purification systems backed by ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide disinfection to purify the water. Then, the water will be put into Orange County's groundwater basin for further natural treatment before it is extracted for later use. The technologies used by the GWR System are the same as used by baby food manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and bottled water companies.
The genesis of the project was the need to expand the seawater barrier, coupled with the need for a reliable locally controlled source of high-quality water. When the project is complete in 2007, it will provide enough water for 144,000 families annually. The GWR System will cost less than the cost of imported water in 2007, and will use one-half the energy required to import water from Northern California.