CARLSBAD — The city of Carlsbad is expanding its use of recycled water with the recent addition of recycled water service at Calavera Hills Community Park. Recycled water is now being used to irrigate the athletic fields and other landscaping at the 16 acre park in northeast Carlsbad, which will save an estimated 8.5 million gallons of drinking water a year.
Recycled water, wastewater that has been treated to a level suitable for irrigation and other non-drinking purposes, is used throughout the city to irrigate parks, street medians and other landscaping. Nearly 20 percent of water provided by Carlsbad Municipal Water District is recycled water.
Recycled water distributed by the Carlsbad Municipal Water District is supplied by three different sources, including the Meadowlark Treatment Plant, owned and operated by the Vallecitos Water District, the Gafner Treatment Plant, owned and operated by the Leucadia Wastewater District and the Carlsbad Water Recycling Facility, owned by the Carlsbad Municipal Water District and operated by the Encina Wastewater Authority.
Every gallon of recycled water used saves a gallon of drinking water, which is facing severe restrictions due to a prolonged drought and legal restrictions on pumping water through the ecologically fragile Bay-Delta in Northern California. Currently, all of Carlsbad’s drinking water is imported from the Colorado River and Northern California.
In May, the Carlsbad Municipal Water District declared a Level 2 Drought Alert, which imposes mandatory water conservation measures, such as limiting outdoor irrigation. As a result of decreasing irrigation, grass and other landscaping at city parks and facilities that do not have recycled water service has begun to turn brown. The water use restrictions do not apply to the use of recycled water.
About 85 percent of the city is served by the Carlsbad Municipal Water District. South and southeastern portions of the city are served by the Vallecitos Water District and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.
To prepare for water shortages, the city has aggressively expanded the use of recycled water, promoted increased conservation through water audits and rebate programs, and supported the development of a seawater desalination project. The city has also installed synthetic turf on athletic fields at Pine Avenue, Poinsettia, Stagecoach and Aviara community parks, and on the event area at Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park. In addition, Stagecoach Community Park recently converted to recycled water last summer. Stagecoach Community Park is served by the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.