University of California, San Diego

May 28, 1998
SUBJECT:	UCSD Recycled Water Use The City of San Diego is primarily dependent on imported water for domestic
and industrial uses. This imported supply is considered limited and its
future reliability is uncertain. In July of l989, the San Diego City
Council adopted the Water Reclamation Ordinance which provides for the
planning of wastewater reclamation facilities, fostering the use of
reclaimed water, controlling its safe distribution, and permitting and
regulating its use.
In support of the City's leadership in developing a system that can provide
reclaimed water to the region, the University has made a commitment to use
reclaimed water for irrigation on campus. Approximately 25% of UCSD's
annual potable water consumption is for landscape irrigation. The areas
currently targeted for retrofit are primarily the north campus athletic
fields and other select landscaping (the east campus baseball field,
landscape areas around Thornton Hospital, and Mesa Housing landscaping.)
Public health officials have evaluated the use of reclaimed water for many
years and have developed a list of suitable uses, which includes
landscaping. A statement of support for the use of reclaimed water has been
signed by the U.S. EPA, the California Water Resources Control Board, the
California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health, the California
Department of Water Resources, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and the
California Department of Health Services. In addition, most people fail to
realize that reclaimed water has been successfully used in many parts of
the country, and even our own county (Santee Lakes) for decades.
The use of reclaimed water on campus is the right thing to do for our
environment. In addition, it allows UCSD to be more self-sufficient in the
event of another drought, and it will provide an expected annual cost
savings to UCSD. Finally, it is our responsibility as an institution of
higher learning to set a leadership example in our community by supporting
the City in making water reclamation a way of life in San Diego, thus
measurably reducing regional use of our scarce potable water resources.
Some of the most commonly asked questions regarding reclaimed water follow
below for your information.
1. Why should UCSD use reclaimed water?
Potable water supplies to UCSD have been reliable in the past,
and therefore people forget that water is imported to San Diego.
San Diego is literally "at the end of the line" and there are any
number of incidents that could cause a water shortage here, including
The University is dependent upon water for drinking, sanitation, fire
protection, heating, cooling, air conditioning, for conducting
research processes, and for landscape irrigation. Therefore, it is
incumbent upon us to be proactive in seeking alternatives that will not only support University functions and necessities, but will be
beneficial to the environment as well. The use of reclaimed water
serves both purposes.
2. Are there health concerns for people who come into contact with
reclaimed water?
No. The reclaimed water UCSD will receive is highly treated, filtered and disinfected through a tertiary treatment process,
which reduces the number of total coliform bacteria to a statistical probability of equal to or less than 2.2/100 ml. This level is
much lower than what is customarily found in natural surface waters
used for recreational purposes, and meets all applicable regulatory
requirements for approved recycled water uses.
3. How much potable water does UCSD use for irrigation and what
are the cost savings associated with using reclaimed water
UCSD uses over a million gallons of water a day and pays over
two million dollars per year for water and sewer services. By
converting to reclaimed water for irrigation on campus, a cost
savings is expected.
If you have additional questions, please reference the UCSD web page on
recycled water use on campus. http://pps.ucsd.edu/grounds/recycle/
Jack Hug
Assistant Vice Chancellor-
Auxiliary & Plant Services