Reliability benefits the customer. Sustainability benefits the environment. Combine them and you get Vallecitos Water District - a forward-thinking organization implementing necessary projects and procedures to encourage a bright, responsible future for all. Expanding on the efficiency principle that guided the formation of the District, Vallecitos has initiated a number of projects through the years to ease elevated water and power demands today for availability tomorrow. Here are a few examples:
Seawater Desalination – In 2016, the District began receiving up to 4,083 acre feet (1 acre foot is 325,851 gallons) annually from the Claude "Bud" Lewis' 50 million gallon per day reverse osmosis plant constructed on the Carlsbad coast. This equates to approximately 27 percent of the District’s annual supply and is enough water to meet the needs of more than 8,100 families for one year. The arrival of water from this local, endless source complements current imported supplies, increasing availability despite drought and regulatory issues that have threatened Vallecitos supplies in the past.
Olivenhain Water Transfer – Looking to further bolster local supplies, Vallecitos entered into a water purchase agreement with neighboring Olivenhain Municipal Water District. After building the necessary infrastructure in 2015, Vallecitos is now able to use an additional 2,750 acre feet annually from the Olivenhain Reservoir to meet customer needs at the District’s lower elevations near San Elijo Hills. The combination of desalination plus the water received from the Olivenhain Municipal Water District will provide up to 45% of the District's long-term supply with local resources to further increase reliability for our customers.
In 2016, the San Elijo Hills Pump Station, which was built to make this water transfer possible, won an Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies. The construction project was highly innovative in regards to protecting the environment. By building the pump station entirely on the footprint of the old Questhaven Road (built in the 1960’s), this avoided the need to remove any native vegetation, protecting the long-term welfare and sustainability of open space and wildlife in the area.
Twin Oaks Reservoirs – Following through on recommendations from its Master Plan, Vallecitos has spent the past 15 years shoring up service reliability through the construction of the 33-million gallon capacity Twin Oaks Reservoir No. 1 and its neighbor – the 40-million gallon capacity Twin Oaks Reservoir No. 2. Buried underground to better blend with the rural community, the combined 73-million gallons of storage are not seen but their presence is definitely felt. The central location of the pre-stressed concrete structures provide a minimum of five days emergency storage and can easily disperse fresh drinking water anywhere needed in the District’s service area. This emergency water source could be essential if an earthquake or other emergency damaged the aqueduct delivering imported water to the region. Watch the video.
North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition - (Formerly known as the North San Diego Regional Recycled Water Project)
The North San Diego Water Reuse Coalition is a comprehensive, cross-jurisdictional partnership of local water and wastewater agencies with the purpose of matching areas with high recycled water demand to facilities that can produce enough recycled water to meet that demand. Maximizing the use of regional recycled water resources reduces North County's dependence on increasingly scarce and expensive imported water, and helps the agencies to achieve the state-mandated potable water reduction of 20 percent by the year 2020. The participating agencies, which includes Vallecitos, have aggressively pursued grant funding since the partnership was born in 2010.
With boundaries expanding from the coast north to Camp Pendleton, south to Solana Beach and Poway and east to Pauma Valley and Ramona, the coalition could significantly conserve imported water supplies by providing recycled water to be used for irrigation purposes to approximately 750,000 current residents and potentially 1.1 million residents living in the vicinity in the future. Click here for a news article about the coalition.
In June of 2016, the Coalition was recognized as a Golden Watchdog finalist in the San Diego County Taxpayers Association’s Annual Golden Watchdog Awards.
Encina Wastewater Authority – The Carlsbad facility, partially owned by Vallecitos, processes approximately 22 million gallons of wastewater a day (mgd) onsite. Along with Vallecitos, effluent is also taken from five other local agencies and treated to accepted regulatory standards. A facility upgrade completed in 2009 now allows for the conversion of wastewater solids into environmentally friendly dry pellets for use as an organic fertilizer or as a biofuel capable of powering cement kilns. Currently 100 percent of the pellets are being recycled for these beneficial uses.
Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility – Vallecitos' Meadowlark facility has been recycling wastewater since 1981, and now after a recent upgrade increasing capacity from 2.25 mgd to 5 mgd, the plant is able to process up to 74 percent of the wastewater Vallecitos customers generate. After final treatment, the recycled water is sold to the City of Carlsbad and Olivenhain Municipal Water District for irrigation purposes.
Sustainable Demonstration Garden - In 2010, Vallecitos revamped its front garden to feature California native plants, water features that use water collected in a rain harvesting system and solar power to serve as a demonstration in conservation for visitors to implement at home.