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Salinity Impacts to Water Recycling in Southern California

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In 2000, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and twelve cost sharing partners began the Southern California Water Recycling Projects Initiative (Initiative), which is a multiyear planning study. This study was established to assist local agencies in their recycled water planning for specific projects as well as addressing regional issues that may influence water recycling in southern California. One of the main objectives of the regional component is to assess and analyze potential future brine/concentrate management issues at a regional level. This issue is of particular concern to agencies in southern California that produce recycled water because of the potential salinity increases in water supplies and increasing discharge regulations.

High salinity in reclaimed wastewater affects all users of reclaimed water including agriculture, horticulture, groundwater replenishment, and industry. Salinity in reclaimed water can interfere with reuse if it results in the water not being able to meet customer water quality needs and expectations or by not meeting regulatory requirements. The degree of restriction to reuse varies from none to severe, depending on the constituent concentration and the reuse application. The major salinity-related problems faced by reclamation agencies in southern California include:

Salinity increasing in imported water supplies

Ability to meet groundwater basin plan objectives and stream discharge requirements

Need for brine management/disposal facilities

Need to protect and improve local groundwater basins

Provide reclaimed water users with high water quality

This paper will discuss the analysis, results, and information accumulated to date as part of the Initiative project including the effect of potential increases of salinity on water reuse at a regional level such as:

How much projected reuse can be expected in the region?

Who are the primary users of reuse water?

What are the cost impacts due to salinity increases to different reuse types?

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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