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About 30,000 acre-feet per year (AF/year), about 27-mgd, of potable water is currently used to irrigate large acreages of avocado, citrus and vineyards to the east and west of the City of Temecula, California. This is not sustainable, particularly in water-short Southern California, where in recent months the announcement of future cuts in fresh water supply from the Bay area make the outlook for water supply that much bleaker. A recent evaluation confirmed that partially desalinated wastewater would be a cost effective means to replace potable water currently used for irrigation. The study determined that an initial desalination treatment train would produce around 10,000 AF/year and that this could be expanded to around 16,000 AF/year in the future, depending on the availability of wastewater in the region. Raw water from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) would be used to supplement the difference needed to replace potable water use. Wastewater agencies spend considerable sums on removing nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus) from wastewater before it is returned to the environment. The agricultural sector, on the other hand, spends considerable sums on purchasing commercial fertilizers to provide most of the same nutrients for their crops. Providing a nutrient rich water source for agricultural use provides a perfect match that benefits both sectors. One potential treatment train evaluated to partially desalinate wastewater for irrigation does exactly that – it incorporates a process arrangement that enhances the recycled water quality by moving nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from the wastewater streams into the recycled water effluent. This saves tremendous energy costs incurred by the wastewater treatment facility, and would provide the agricultural community a water source that already contains nutrients, thereby reducing the need to purchase commercially manufactured fertilizers – a double energy benefit for the environment.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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