Chris Stiedemann of Poseidon Water looks over the giant filers that remove microscopic impurities from the seawater. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The $1 billion desalination plant in Carlsbad and San Diego’s innovative water recycling program both received international recognition earlier this week at a global water summit in Abu Dhabi.

The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant was honored as the desalination plant of the year, and the City of San Diego’s Pure Water program was recognized as the water reuse project of the year.

The awards came at the 2016 Global Water Summit in the capital of the United Arab Emirates on the Arabian Gulf.

The Carlsbad plant is the largest desalination facility in the United States. It came online in December and produces up to 50 million gallons of water daily for the San Diego County Water Authority.

“The successful completion of the largest desalination plant in North America followed years of seemingly insurmountable technical, financial and legal hurdles,” said Global Water Intelligence, producer of the conference. “The tenacity shown by the developer team is matched only by the importance of seawater desalination as a key part of the solution to California’s water crisis.”

San Diego’s recycling project is moving from a successful test phase to construction of a 30-million-gallon-per-day facility by 2021. Ultimately a third of the the city’s drinking water will be recycled.

In recognizing the project, the judges noted, “San Diego has historically been dependent on imported water. Despite this, a 1990s plan to reclaim primary effluent for potable reuse purposes met with strong opposition from local citizens, who coined the phrase “toilet-to-tap.” The tenacity of local officials in turning public opinion around is thus all the more remarkable.”

Mayor Kevin Faulconer at the Advanced Water Purification Facility. Photo by Chris Jennewein
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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.