What is the Advanced Water Purification Program?


Up to 30% of East San Diego County's drinking water will be created locally!

The East County Advanced Water Purification Program is a collaborative effort between Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Helix Water District, the City of El Cajon and the County of San Diego. It will create a new, local, sustainable and drought proof drinking water supply using state-of-the-art technology to purify East County’s recycled water. This water recycling opportunity will diversify East County’s water supply, reduce our dependence on imported water and produce up to 30 percent of East County’s current drinking water needs. Click here to view an informative video about the program.

The program includes using four advanced water purification steps to clean recycled water, with the end product so clean that it is near-distilled in quality. The purified water will then be piped to and blended with water in Lake Jennings and treated at the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant before being distributed into the drinking water system. Each day 15 million gallons of wastewater will be treated and 11.5 million gallons of purified drinking water will be produced. The graphic below shows the elements of the program.

The Delivery Process - Homes & Businesses > Water Recycling Facility > East County AWP > Lake Jennings > Levy Water Treatment Plant > Delivered to Customers

Where will the purified water be distributed?


Water will be distributed from the R.M Levey Water Treatment Facility. Helix and Padre Dam will be purchasing the purified water through water service agreements with the Program’s Joint Powers Authority. This new purified water supply will provide approximate 30 percent of East County’s current drinking water demands. The map below shows the service area of the program.

Map of Program Service Area

Why is the program needed?

  • Most of East County’s drinking water is imported.
  • Imported water travels from hundreds of miles away from the Sacramento Bay Delta and the Colorado River.
  • The cost of imported water is expected to continue to rise.
  • California is facing unpredictable precipitation and more frequent droughts.
  • Importing water siphons water from sensitive ecosystems.
  • Imported water and wastewater treatment is subject to rising costs out of the local water agencies’ control.
  • Imported water requires an enormous amount of energy to transport.
  • Treated wastewater is discharged into the ocean when it can be reused in east county.


What are the program’s benefits?

  • Creates a new, local, reliable and drought-proof drinking water supply.
  • Will produce up to 30 percent of East County’s drinking water supply.
  • Reduces East County’s reliance on the City of San Diego’s Metropolitan Wastewater System.
  • It’s a smart investment – the cost is expected to be competitive with imported water.
  • Sustains East County’s economy and quality of life.