Our local water project is now underway. After more than six decades of legal hurdles, water-rights litigation, environmental permitting and some bureaucratic red tape, the final settlement agreement with Camp Pendleton on the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project was approved by the FPUD board in May 2019.
The project is under construction at the treatment plant on Alturas Road where bulldozers and heavy machinery are moving earth to build a pipeline and water treatment plant. The entire process will take approximately two years to complete and Fallbrook customers should be getting the local water by fall 2021.
A pipeline to transport the water from the treatment plant through part of town, ending at McDonald Road, is also under construction.
Approval of the landmark settement is monumental for FPUD. It allows us to move forward with securing our own, local water supply. It also provides a buffer from escalating imported water costs and an additional shield against drought. Once built, it will provide about 30 percent of our total water supply. That’s important because it will allow us to reduce water purchases from our wholesaler and over the long term, help us reduce the cost of water.
Before construction could begin, financing of the project needed to be secured by staff and then approved by the board.
FPUD secured a State Revolving Fund loan for 20 years at approximately 1.9 percent interest. The State Revolving Fund is a federal low-interest loan program, overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is the backbone of infrastructure funding for water agencies.
The final design phase for the infrastructure was completed in February 2019. This water project does not impact the 1,300 acres of Santa Margarita River property, where horseback riders and hikers enjoy the miles of natural trails year-round.