Groundwater system wins national award

Metropolitan Celebrates Four Innovative, Water-Saving Projects

Metropolitan Water District recognized four Southern California projects in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego counties that showcase the latest in water efficiency during their second annual One Water Awards ceremony.

The projects feature major improvements to water management operations and equipment such as reusing condensation from air conditioning and heating systems, recycling irrigation runoff, switching to sustainable landscaping, and installing more efficient irrigation systems.

“Extreme drought and climate change require us to think differently about how we use water,” said Metropolitan board Chair Adán Ortega, Jr. “The water-saving projects developed by these four organizations are great examples of the actions that must be taken to adapt to our changing climate and store water for use when we need it.”

California State University, Dominguez Hills, which is served by West Basin Municipal Water District, received a One Water Award for its HVAC condensate recovery project. Conceived by the university’s engineering students, the project captures and reuses high-quality water from HVAC condensation at the Carson campus that was previously lost to sewer drains. The system uses a network of clear pipes and tanks to collect condensate from various campus buildings and redirects it for use in the school’s cooling towers, saving approximately 80,000 gallons of water a year. The project also serves as an educational lab, attracting hundreds of visitors annually to learn about water stewardship.

Metropolitan honored Altman Specialty Plants, which is served by Western Municipal Water District, for an innovative system at their nursery site that recycles 80% of their irrigation runoff. Working with Clean Water3 and UC Davis, the Perris grower uses vegetated wetlands to treat the water and remove harmful chemicals, and canna plants, barley hay and goldfish to create a sustainable ecosystem that further breaks down pollutants and generates high-quality water that can be reused for irrigation. The system is projected to save 180 million gallons annually.

The Jamacha Park Homeowners Association, a 64-home community in El Cajon that is served by the San Diego County Water Authority, was presented with a One Water Award for its work to replace 58,000 square feet of grass on its pathways and gathering spaces with more climate-appropriate plants, efficient irrigation and stormwater retention elements. Using funding from Metropolitan and SDCWA’s turf replacement programs, and from San Diego County’s Landscape Optimization Service, the project reduces water use by 80% and is projected to save 270,000 gallons a year.

Tarzana’s El Caballero Country Club, which is served by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, was honored for redesigning its golf course to improve environmental sustainability. In collaboration with Southern California Golf Association and with incentives from Metropolitan, the golf course replaced cool-season turf with drought-tolerant, warm-season Bermuda grass that is known for its year-round playability. Additional improvements included installing high-efficiency irrigation equipment and vibrant, low water-use plants, helping to reduce the course’s water use by 33% and estimated to save 28 million gallons of water per year.

“These organizations are true leaders – they are examples of what can happen through innovation and a strong commitment to saving water and creating a more sustainable environment for our communities,” said Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil.

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