GWRS Celebrates 11th Anniversary

It was a risky venture for its time, but every day for 11 years the 2.5 million people in the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) service area have benefitted from the forward thinkers of both OCWD and its partner, the Orange County Sanitation District.

Together, they created the world’s largest advanced water purification project of its kind that now provides 100 million gallons each day of locally-controlled, reliable, quality water.

Within three years of coming online, the cost of imported water supplies became greater than GWRS water and the last of the cynics became believers.

Operational since January 2008, the Groundwater Replenishment System is the poster child for how to create an industry standard. It leads the way in water recycling. Staff share their knowledge of water reuse world-wide in a collaborative manner to assist those most in need and to spur industry discussion and cost-effective improvements.

The GWRS uses less than half the energy required to transport water from Northern California to Southern California. The energy savings is enough to power more than 21,000 homes each year.

With its three-step process of microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide, it removes harmful pharmaceuticals and hormones from drinking water and its product water is near-distilled in quality.

The GWRS was built to allow for two expansions. The first, in 2015, expanded the project from 70 million gallons per day to the current 100 million gallons. Construction of the GWRS Final Expansion will begin in 2019 and will be completed by 2023. Once complete, the total GWRS production will be 130 million gallons per day—enough water for one million people. This helps residents sleep easier, especially during cyclical droughts. For additional information, visit the GWRS homepage.