Water purification system for Padre Dam district - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Water purification system for Padre Dam district

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday at the site of a state of the art water purification project at Padre Dam.

As we continue to grapple with the current severe drought, some experts warn the state could fall into "megadrought" status -- a dry period that can last decades, or even centuries. While residents have been doing their part to conserve, officials are looking at ways to find new sources of water so they don't have to.

The test model costs $3 million, which is all grant money. For at least the next 12 months, it will take recycled water through a very high-tech purification process to remove anything harmful. It will then be tested to see if it can one day be used as an extra water source for East County residents. The water will actually be more pure and clean than a lot of what we see coming out of our faucets today.

Right now, our water comes from the Colorado River and the Delta.

In its sample mode, it has the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of purified water a day. In its full capacity it could produce 3 million gallons per day for local users, meaning it they won't have to rely on importing water from hundreds of miles away.

"Orange County has already figured this out," Allen Carlisle of Padre Dam said.

Carlisle says they produce 70 million gallons a day of highly treated, recycled water.

"We want to emulate that here," he said.

If all goes well and things move forward, the water will be injected into the Santee Groundwater Basin, where it would be filtered, withdrawn and treated again before being used as drinking water.

Officials are hopeful that if things go as planned, that could start happening by 2019.

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