Pure Water Project Las Virgenes-Triunfo
As climate change results in more severe droughts that threaten water resources around the world, more communities are turning to water reuse as a resilient water supply solution. Forward-thinking utilities are recognizing that all water has value – and that water once viewed as a waste can be reclaimed and transformed into a sustainable resource.
This is the case in southern California, where prominent water agencies are collaborating on bold water reuse programs that will create drought-proof water supplies. Communities are embracing OneWater principles and partnering across traditional water management siloes to repurpose wastewater and stormwater into high-quality drinking water.
One such pioneer is Las Virgenes-Triunfo Joint Powers Authority (JPA), a partnership of the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District and Triunfo Water & Sanitation District in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. The authority is planning a visionary Pure Water Project that will reuse advanced treated wastewater to enhance local water supply reliability and eliminate wastewater discharges to a protected waterway. As it embarked on one of the first surface water augmentation programs for potable reuse in California, the authority turned to Jacobs to provide program management services for its innovative project.
volume of high-quality water that will be produced
effluent reused from the Tapia WRF
people that receive sanitation services from Las Virgenes-Triunfo JPA in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties
scheduled completion of Pure Water Project Las Virgenes-Triunfo
Las Virgenes-Triunfo JPA was an early adopter of water reuse for non-potable purposes. It currently reuses treated wastewater from its Tapia Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) to irrigate parks, golf courses and roadway and property landscapes.
Faced with long-term drought conditions and uncertainty surrounding imported water supplies, the utility decided to take its water recycling program a step further and initiate an indirect potable water reuse project. The result is Pure Water Project Las Virgenes-Triunfo, a $364 million visionary program to reuse advanced treated wastewater for drinking water purposes via surface water augmentation.
Another important aim of the project is to eliminate wastewater discharges to the protected Malibu Creek, for which the authority faces some of the toughest nutrient discharge standards in the country. By reusing 100% of the effluent from the Tapia WRF, the Pure Water Project will eliminate year-round discharges to the creek – except during the most significant storm events.
The components of the project include a new advanced water purification facility that will treat disinfected tertiary effluent from the Tapia WRF using an advanced three-step process of membrane filtration, reverse osmosis membranes and ultraviolet disinfection advanced oxidation process. The facility will be designed to produce 6-million-gallons-per-day of high-quality water.
A new pipeline will convey the reclaimed water to the Las Virgenes reservoir where it will be blended with surface water already in storage. This augmented water supply will then be treated at the existing Westlake Filtration Plant and distributed through the District’s drinking water distribution network. Additional conveyance infrastructure will also be built to dispose of the concentrate produced in the reverse osmosis process.
Once complete in 2028, the project will be one of the first examples of surface water augmentation for potable reuse in California, after the state adopted regulations allowing the practice in 2018.
Collaborative Program Management
As program manager, Jacobs was selected to provide comprehensive services and support to the JPA for the Pure Water Project. Our highly collaborative partnership is structured to help the client achieve the program’s objectives, while minimizing risks, adhering to schedule, controlling budget and complying with regulatory mandates.
During a first phase focused on team integration and program planning, we’ve provided services including technical support, funding consulting, and regulatory and environmental permitting support. A second phase includes responsibilities during program execution, transition and closeout.
“Pure Water Project Las-Virgenes Triunfo is a critical program to enhance our local water supply reliability and drought resilience while eliminating discharge to Malibu Creek. Jacobs is providing valuable programmatic support for the years ahead and has created a dynamic team to ensure that we succeed together.”
Outcomes to date have included a program implementation plan to outline the program strategies and approach, the selection of delivery methods for the various project elements, early and continued engagement with regulators and completion of certified environmental documentation. Our funding consulting support has included modelling to demonstrate the affordability of the program and helping the JPA secure a $10.2 M Title XVI grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). We’ve also helped the client secure an invitation to apply for a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan of up to $184 million based on a successful Letter of Interest.
One challenge that the JPA faces with its Pure Water Project is maintaining a consistent supply of water to the new advanced water purification facility. During high demand for water in the summertime, much of the flow from the Tapia WRF is already being used for irrigation purposes. As part of our program management services, we undertook a water augmentation study for the JPA to identify new sources of water that could supplement supply to the advanced water purification facility, such as wastewater from neighboring agencies or diverted stormwater flows. With a Digital OneWater approach, we developed a holistic Replica digital twin platform that quickly analyzed approximately 90 different water augmentation alternatives and supports the JPA’s decision-making.
“Pure Water Project Las Virgenes-Triunfo is a great example of OneWater in action. The JPA is taking a holistic and collaborative approach to water reuse that improves local water supplies, leverages regional partnerships and safeguards water quality in a protected creek. As more communities embrace potable water reuse in southern California, this visionary Pure Water Project will be a model for similar programs in the region – and beyond.”
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- An Integrated, Collaborative Approach to Water Management with OneWater: A Q&A with Joseph Danyluk
- Many Approaches to One Water: Implementing Integrated Water Management Regionally
- Potable Reuse: Nature Reuses Water Endlessly, Why Don't We?
- Life Support: Drought Resilience Lessons from the Western U.S., Past and Present