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Olivenhain Municipal Water District has started a pipeline replacement project on Rancho Santa Fe Road. Photo by Samantha Nelson
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Olivenhain water district serves recycled water, replaces pipeline

ENCINITAS — The Olivenhain Municipal Water District began serving recycled water at a new medical office building and is starting work to replace a more than 60-year-old water pipeline.

According to the water district, irrigating the property at 777 N. El Camino Real in Encinitas with recycled instead of potable water will save more than 7,500 gallons of imported drinking water each year.

Recycled water is locally produced wastewater that is disinfected and used for irrigation. Using recycled water is considered “drought-resilient” and cheaper for the water district and its customers.

“Converting our irrigation meter to recycled water was a good decision,” said Jason Van Engelenhoven of Manna Construction, the project manager behind the new multi-tenant medical office. “We can now irrigate our property without contributing to the ongoing water supply crisis and won’t be as impacted by future drought regulations that might limit watering schedules. OMWD has been very helpful in the conversion effort and we are very grateful for their guidance.”

OMWD produces up to 2 million gallons of recycled water daily at its 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility and supplements the supply with recycled water purchased from neighboring water and wastewater agencies.

By partnering with other agencies and sharing resources across jurisdictional boundaries, OMWD can continue expanding its recycled water distribution system. In total, OMWD meets up to 15% of its demands with recycled water.

“Converting our commercial customers to recycled water for irrigation is of the utmost importance,” said OMWD Board Secretary Larry Watt. “Our region is dependent on the Colorado River for drinking water and available supplies on the river have been slowly declining for decades. Every customer we convert to recycled water makes us more drought resilient.”

Additionally, the water district is beginning construction to replace 1,500 feet of an existing 12-inch-in-diameter pipeline that was installed in 1961 on Rancho Santa Fe Road between Las Olas Court and Avenida La Posta on the border of Carlsbad and Encinitas.

“Replacing old water mains ensures the continued reliability of our services,” said OMWD Board President Christy Guerin. “Proactive maintenance projects like this are necessary to avoid emergency breaks that can waste millions of gallons of water and be very costly.”

A city-approved traffic management plan will be implemented during construction to minimize disruptions to residents and schools in the project area. Work will take place mostly during the day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, due to the residential nature of the surrounding area. Limited overnight work is anticipated.

Construction of the new pipeline is anticipated to end late this year. More information can be found at, and project updates will be posted to OMWD’s Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) accounts.

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