Similar wastewater reclamation projects were proposed in neighboring Los Angeles and San Diego counties in the 1990s, but never came to fruition because the issue got politicized and wrongly labeled “toilet to tap.” The Orange County Water District (OCWD) and Orange County Sanitation District studied these projects carefully before embarking on the ambitious and visionary GWRS project.
Through extensive research, which included numerous surveys, both agencies developed and executed an aggressive outreach plan to educate the general public within Orange County and beyond about the real facts of wastewater purification. Outreach included more than 2,000 presentations throughout the community. Transparency and having over 25 years of proven water quality data from OCWD’s Water Factory 21 (1976-2004), which purified wastewater for injection into OCWD’s seawater barrier, were critical to solidifying support and earning the public’s trust of the GWRS. As a result, the GWRS has received broad support from the health, scientific, environmental and water quality communities, as well as from chambers of commerce, service organizations, educational institutions and local, state and federal leaders, and policy makers.
To join the thousands of GWRS supporters, subscribe to OCWD’s newsletter.
Below is what some people are saying about the international award-winning project.