President signs budget with $2.5M for Orange County groundwater replenishment

The Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System in Orange County will receive $2.5 million in federal funding for fiscal year 2005, according to an appropriations bill signed into law in December by President George W. Bush. The $2.5 million grant is part of $20 million authorized for the project by Congress in 2000. To date, the Groundwater Replenishment System has received $12 million of federal funding...

Dec 23rd, 2004

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CA, Dec. 22, 2004 (PRNewswire) -- The Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System in Orange County will receive $2.5 million in federal funding for fiscal year 2005, according to an appropriations bill signed into law in December by President George W. Bush. The $2.5 million grant is part of $20 million authorized for the project by Congress in 2000. To date, the Groundwater Replenishment System has received $12 million of federal funding.

"By continuing to support this project with federal funds, Congress is agreeing with the people of Orange County to move forward on this very important undertaking," said Phil Anthony, president of the Orange County Water District.

The GWR System is a joint project of the Orange County Water District and Orange County Sanitation District and will provide about 23 billion gallons of water each year for Orange County beginning in 2007. The GWR System will take highly treated sewer water from the Orange County Sanitation District, currently sent to the ocean, and will purify it to near-distilled water quality. The water will be used to expand an existing underground water barrier, which helps prevent seawater from intruding into the groundwater basin, and will also be naturally filtered into the underground storage basin by the Orange County Water District.

Using high-tech membrane purification systems backed by ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide disinfection, the GWR System will purify sewer water to a level similar to bottled water. Then, the water will be pumped into Orange County's groundwater basin for further natural treatment before it is extracted for later use.

The technologies used for this project are the same as used by baby food manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and bottled water companies. Half of the water produced from the GWR System will be injected along the coast to revitalize the seawater intrusion barrier that keeps the ocean from contaminating Orange County's groundwater basin. The need to expand the seawater barrier, coupled with the need for a locally controlled source of high-quality water, is the driving force behind the project. When the project is complete in 2007, it will provide enough water for 144,000 families annually. The water can be purified for less than the expected cost of imported water in 2007 using one-half the energy required to import water from Northern California.

The GWR System, a new high-tech water purification system, will produce water similar in quality to bottled water. Once complete, the GWR System will:
* Help assure the future water supply in Orange County.
* Help provide a reliable source of water during future droughts.
* Save energy by producing very high quality water using one-half the energy that it takes to bring water here from Northern California.
* Produce such high quality water that it will help "soften" the content of the groundwater basin, which eventually will mean longer appliance life.

For more information, visit the Orange County Water District website (www.ocwd.com) or the Groundwater Replenishment System website (www.gwrsystem.com).

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