SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - In the face of a worsening drought, San Diego County may soon have a new source of clean water.

The Padre Dam Municipal Water District debuted a new water purification system on Friday, giving water officials a reason to celebrate in the face of a dreadful California drought.

The new system takes recycled water that has been used for five decades in lakes and will turn it into clean, nearly-distilled drinking water. The multi-million dollar project has been in the works for three years and it's development couldn't have come at a better time. 

The current system is a demonstration project. Eventually, Padre Dam officials want to make it five times larger so it can purify 10 million gallons of water per day. Right now, they are waiting on approval from regulators before the water it is currently producing is ready for public use.

The idea of turning recycled water into drinking water isn't a new idea in California but it may become a much more popular one. However, there is still a stigma surrounding recycled water that experts say is something they are working to change.

The project isn't expected to be ready until 2018 and it's not fully paid for yet. In total, it could cost $450 million.

There is hope that bonds and grants will be able to help pay for it and officials say having local water is worth the investment.