The San Diego water recycling demonstration plant. Courtesy Pure Water San Diego
The San Diego water recycling demonstration plant. Courtesy Pure Water San Diego

By Barbara Bry

Reduce, recapture, recycle, rates and reinvent. Those 5 R’s should be the guiding principles for securing our city’s water supply for the future.

San Diego needs to address the current water predicament practically, with no added burden to the taxpayer. With a more self-sufficient water supply, San Diego would be able to provide more economic stability for the residents of our city. All San Diegans depend on access to a reliable, affordable supply of water. Our ability to keep attracting world-class companies, and the jobs that come with them, hinges on our ability to provide consistent prices and high-quality water. Our working families deserve the peace of mind of knowing that their water is clean and that their rates are not going to skyrocket.

Barbara Bry

My white paper Using Innovation for Conservation discusses ways San Diego can better address long-term water sustainability, from improved storm water capture to expediting the wastewater recycling Pure Water program. Implementing these strategies can save tax dollars, and improve environmental sustainability. For instance, by recycling wastewater and turning it into pure drinking water, the city will avoid having to spend nearly $2 billion to upgrade the Pt. Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant and will be using a resource already readily available.

Additionally, given our thriving tech economy and first-rate research facilities, I propose we establish a “Water Innovation Zone” to position San Diego as a national hub for innovative water research and development. San Diego-based companies such as Qualcomm, Underground Solutions, DockOn, and Novatel Wireless are already creating technologies to conserve water.

The Water Innovation Zone would build on these efforts and connect city hall to our universities, research institutes, schools and neighborhoods. This innovation zone would include a state-of-the-art testing center to ensure safe, clean drinking water for all our residents, a research facility to adopt the latest water testing and conservation techniques, a water management program to upgrade our wastewater conservation efforts, and an education outreach component to share the knowledge. This would be financed through federal and state grants and at no cost to the city.

In crafting this plan, I sought feedback from a group of stakeholders and leaders in the environmental community. I will continue to solicit ideas from San Diego residents and industry experts and use them to inform my policy plans, which will be released throughout my campaign for City Council District 1.


Barbara Bry was co-founder of one of the first software companies to locate in downtown San Diego, Atcom/Info, which developed early versions of the software that provides Internet access in public places. She was also on the founding team of ProFlowers.com, a pioneering ecommerce company based in San Diego. Additionally, she served as the first associate director of CONNECT, and she is the founder of Athena San Diego, the leading organization for women in the San Diego tech and life science community. Currently she is a candidate for San Diego City Council District 1.