(Left to right) - Wendy Hovland-Henry, Rebecca Cole, Melissa McChesney, and board member Jim Peasley.
(Left to right) - Wendy Hovland-Henry, Rebecca Cole, Melissa McChesney, and board member Jim Peasley.

A Padre Dam Municipal Water District water-recycling project has received the 2018 Recycled Water Community Outreach/Public Education Program of the Year award from WateReuse California. By providing up to 30% of supply for East County, an area with almost 500,000 people, the project will reduce dependence on imported water.

The East County Advanced Water Purification Program is a partnership between the district Dam, Helix Water District, the County of San Diego, and the City of El Cajon. The district is lead agency; partner agencies support the program through memorandums of understandings and funding. Key tools for raising awareness about the project's purpose and benefits include an overview video, an animated video targeted to families, speaker’s bureau, website, and tours for the public, schools, scout groups, and civic organizations.

“Public education is vital to changing public attitudes about potable reuse,” says Padre Dam Municipal Water District CEO and General Manager Allen Carlisle. “Our communication efforts have instilled confidence in the treatment process and highlighted the professionalism and competence of Padre Dam’s operations staff.”

Engineering planning, research, outreach and governance planning are under way in preparation for construction and implementation.