Purifying 70 Million Gallons of Wastewater a Day for Groundwater Recharge in Orange County

Environmental Engineering Seminar Series

Featuring Shivaji Deshmukh, P.E.
Groundwater Replenishment System Program Manager
Orange County Water District   

Location:  2430 Engineering Hall
Free and open to the public

The Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System is the largest water purification and reuse project of its kind in the world. The new system increases Orange County’s water independence by providing a locally-controlled, drought-proof supply of safe, high-quality water.  At full capacity, the GWR System will generate enough pure water to meet the needs of 500,000 people.  GWR System purified water is higher quality than all state and federal drinking water standards and has water quality similar to distilled water. 

The GWR System takes highly treated wastewater that is currently going to the ocean and purifies and reclaims it to produce 72,000 acre-feet of purified water each year.  The GWR System produces water using half the energy required to pump water to Southern California from Northern California – saving enough energy to power 21,000 homes each year. 

More than a decade in development, the elected leaders of Orange County Water District (OCWD) and the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) were visionary in their pursuit of the GWR System and their understanding of water reuse and its potential as a new water resource.  The partnership between the two agencies to develop the GWR System is groundbreaking and has already significantly assisted in the advancement of water reuse throughout the world.  The GWR System is being replicated in Australia and other locations in the United States facing water supply challenges, such as Florida, California and Colorado.