Recycling Water

Part of the Climate Change exhibition.

The Issue: Water Shortage

As populations grow, demand for water increases. The expected increase in droughts would reduce supply.

The Strategy: Water Purification

There's a new way to view—and use—sewage in Southern California. It still flows from household drains, but instead of being discharged into the ocean, the water is purified and sent back to replenish its original source underground.

The purification system continually processes enough water to meet the needs of 500,000 people. This includes everything from showers to drinking water. Southern California is already feeling the effects of drought: the Santa Ana and Colorado Rivers that now provide water to the region are running low. Managing water resources, including recycling waste water, is increasingly important as climate change poses additional drought threats.

Orange County's Water Replenishment System purifies 70 million gallons a day as one way to keep up with growing water demand. The local population is expected to rise significantly by 2020. Will there be enough water?