Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Santee Lakes, continued...

Endangered Wood Duck
The beautiful park, with its seven stepped recreational lakes flowing one into the other, is what the general public sees. But the park is only one aspect of the Santee Water Reclamation Project, which began in 1959. Further north, up into Sycamore Canyon, the business of waste water recycling begins.

Used water from Santee residences, not sewage, is pumped into the water reclamation plant where excess flow and sludge is diverted and sent to the San Diego Metro System. The "gray" water is routed to a series of three stabilization ponds with a combined capacity of 40 million gallons. The water, with the help of gravity, works it way through eleven percolation beds, 400 feet long which drain into a French drain.

From there, the water is treated in a chlorination station before it is released into the first of the seven man-made recreational lakes. Once the water works its way through the park, it is pumped into the City of Santee's irrigation system which feeds the commercial Town Center area and also irrigates the Carleton Oaks Country Club.

Historically, many of the American West's worst conflicts were over water rights. That was true 100 years ago, and it's true today. Water Rights is still one of the most contentious issues among the Western states.

Santee Lakes is a successful role model for water conservation with its three use system: household, recreation, and landscape. Check out A&E's Modern Marvels: "Water Conservation" for more information. Saving water is everybody's business because every drop is precious, that's why I'm proud to support my water department's conservation efforts.