WELCOME to the San Diego

Fresh Water Tech “Innovation Zone”

San Diego’s annual rainfall is 9 inches per year, less than half the California average.So our arid economic mega region (the world’s 7th largest cross-border conurbation) imports freshwater from northern California and the Colorado River —and depends on these drying water resources for life and business.  Drought conditions continue to reduce California rainfall and reservoir storage to 75% of average. For water security,the San Diego region is increasing water reuse with cutting-edge water tech.
In the late 1950s, San Diego began recycling water to fill East County recreational lakes. In the 1990s, water utilities added 200 miles of purple pipe to send treated wastewater to irrigate public parks, campuses, golf greens, and fields. The San Diego Padres’ Petco Park keeps the outfield green with recycled water; and cuts costs of water, energy + operations by 25% with Qualcomm’s Intelligent Solutions for “Smart Cities, Smart Water”, we learned when Qualcomm hosted our Water Tech Alliance.

San Diego is now winning the water reuse game with two “great catches” of drinking water produced from reliable local resources —seawater and wastewater —using great water tech to filter out salt and contaminants. Since 2015, the “Bud Lewis” Desalination Plant in Carlsbad (the largest in North America) adds 50 million gallons per day to San Diego County’a potable supplies.  Pure Water Oceanside now produces 3 million potable gallons per day from wastewater using water ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis (RO) membranes and ultra-violet (UV) oxidative disinfection. Clean water tech capable of creating drought-proof water resilience is why the EPA loaned $5B  to Pure Water San Diego (2018) and East County Advanced Water Purification (2021) projects, to provide a third of the City’s and County’s drinking water by 2030.  Our freshwater industry (with over 300 companies in San Diego) will be a strong economic driver in the coming decade, adding 100s of high-tech jobs in engineering and construction of wastewater purification plants, energy and resources recovery as well as water storage and distribution systems. Stormwater reuse is the next “Moonshot 2035” for our regional “Water Tech Innovation Zone”.  Along with centralized water and wastewater treatment, the future also holds great promise for  onsite reuse of industrial waters, utilizing innovative water tech to produce fit-for-purpose


Ten years ago (2012), San Diego had no desalination or potable reuse plants producing freshwater from seawater and wastewater. During the 2010 drought, avocado growers sacrificed their groves to save water, and another drought was upon us. In 2012-2014, the San Diego City Councils’ Water Policy Implementation Task Force of civil engineers, chaired by urban planner and mediator Cary Lowe PhD

advocated conservation by all —and rapidly implementing policies and tech for monitoring water use, and more importantly, potable reuse. In 2015, he encouraged “Global Smart City” San Diego (1 of 4 cities so-named by National Geographic in 2015) to grow this name earned by Qualcomm’s cellular and BIOCOM’s biotech industry sectors, by making our pressing necessity for freshwater, the mother of inventions. He urged San Diego to become a national center of water-related tech, beginning with “an informational and promotional network” among the innovative companies in San Diego’s freshwater industry, which he defined as distinct from our region’s Navy, maritime and ocean-focused industry sectors: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/sdut-water-tech-making-a-splash-2015may30-story.html.

In 2016, Dr. Lowe established the Water Tech Alliance (WTA) as an industry advocacy nonprofit organization (501c6) to promote the San Diego freshwater sector’s tech innovations, collaborations, and global recognition. WTA’s in-person and virtual events are hosted and sponsored by regionally based companies, universities, and utilities, which consider WTA their “ethical forum”, to showcase “smart” and hard tech (from digital tools like apps, sensors, and smart meters as well as predictive analytics for cost-effective O&M [such as Qualcomm’s Intelligent Solutions noted above), to satellite surveillance of groundwater, municipal leaks, as well as floating solar, membranes, pumps, valves, UV, …). WTA also raises the next hard issues (like reuse of stormwater [January 2022 Recent event: https://www.watercitizen.org/wtastormwater/ ] while inspiring industry, civic leaders. and students to action, learning and collaboration.

3 Missions

Our Water Tech Alliance serves San Diego’s fresh water industry to foster


Water Tech Solutions for Sustainability

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Recognition of San Diego as a
Water Tech Innovation Zone

See News & Blog + Photo
Danish Ministerial Delegation
Visits PureWater Oceanside +
Sign 3-Year MOU between
WTA of Denmark & WTA of San Diego


WTA organizes in-person and virtual events (hosted and sponsored by public agencies, companies, utilities, and universities) to showcase water tech solutions and collaborations, as well as to promote wider recognition of water-innovative San Diego.

Future & Favorites

Sustainable Water Solutions

per San Diego Water Policy Implementation Task Force (2013) Recommendations:*Conservation Ethics & Value Communication (Drought Alerts + PR for runoff prevention) supporting sustainable Environment & Trade& advancing reclamation (for )

One-Water Resources treatment & non/potable reuse

(municipal (desalination; wastewater[sewage]; & storm water); &(Evoqua) onsite (gray & industrial waters including a/c condensate)


(wastewater mining) for climate-conscious support of other industry sectors (ag, cement, …) & regions(Veolia) Isle Utilities

Water Tech Solutions
for Sustainability

per San Diego Water Policy Implementation Task Force (2013) Recommendations:*Non-tech: Water Conservation Ethics & Value Communication (Drought Alerts + PR for runoff prevention) supporting sustainable Environment & Trade & advancing reclamation (for)







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Smart” Water Utilities Optimized O&M:

Improving indoor air quality

Protecting biodiversity

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