SoCal cities recycling water in midst of drought

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More and more water is being recycled, and a treatment plant in Orange County is recycling all of the waste water to the point where it is safe to drink again. (KABC)

Ever wondered what happens to the waste water that goes down the toilet, shower drain or sink? Most of it ends up in the ocean.

But now, more and more is being recycled. In fact, in northern Orange County all of the waste water is completely recycled to the point it becomes drinking water again.

"This is a world-renowned project. We've won every major civil, scientific and engineering award in the world," said Shawn Dewane, president of the Mesa Water District Board of Directors.

Most communities do not have such a state of the art water treatment plant. But that is not stopping them from using recycled water in Lancaster. A park in the area uses 300,000 gallons of water per day, but all of it is recycled.

"The city gets recycled water from the sanitation district. We've had to extend a main line from their treatment plant all the way to the city park. It's about a 7-mile line," said Carl Workman with Lancaster Public Works.

The Los Feliz Golf Course has joined dozens of other golf courses across the state that now irrigate with treated water. That alone is going to save 5.5 million gallons of safe drinking water per year.

Agriculture uses 80 percent of the water in California, but some growers are now feeding their crops with recycled water thanks to a new program from the Metropolitan Water District.

"The Metropolitan now offers an incentive of $195 an acre-foot to help customers hook up to recycled water," said Bill McDonnell, water efficiency manager of the Metropolitan Water District.

KB Homes in Lancaster is even demonstrating a recycling water system for homes that is the first of its kind in the U.S. The designers say it can save more than 100,000 gallons of water a year in a single family home.

There is a simpler lest costly measure a homeowner can do, by simply installing a rain barrel. But, of course, rain is needed in order to use it.

Eyewitness News is committed to helping you Beat the Drought, and we want to hear your ideas too! Join the Circle of Eyewitnesses and tell us what you're doing to save water. Share your pictures or video on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with #ABC7drought.

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weatherbeat the droughtdroughtcalifornia waterwater conservationrecycled waterwaterorange county newsOrange CountyLos Angeles County
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