Of all of the schools in the Cal State University system, Cal Poly Pomona uses the most water. Much of that is because it is also an agricultural school that has horses, farm animals and crops. But, they say they've cut their mandated 25% as ordered by the Governor and now are preparing to go a giant leap forward.
In the final testing stage is Cal Poly's new multi-million dollar reverse osmosis plant. Instead of buying water from Metropolitan Water District they'll be taking groundwater, removing the salts and nitrates and making it drinkable.
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The plant was built with the help of a 3.3-million-dollar plant from the State. Water enters from underground wells then runs through a series of filters and white tube-like filters much like a reverse osmosis system you might have under your sink at home
Facilities manager Mark Miller says in the past they blended half the water they got from MWD with ground water to get an acceptable blend.
Why spend all the money to go with an RO plant? Miller says it's "because of the water rates (and) because of the scarcity of water both with the Metropolitan Water District as well as some of the local providers of reclaimed water they've had to raise their rates."
And, when use as much water as this University water is a big deal? How big? Last year they used 633,958,424 gallons. About two-thirds of that is purchased reclaimed water, but you can see why water is a big expensive deal here. But, remember, this is also an agricultural campus which requires more water than other CSU schools.
The new system will go online in August or September.