Solutions to the world’s water problems are being sought at the Watsonville Wastewater Recycling Plant. The current drought has made us aware of the reality that many of the world’s communities face daily; an extreme lack of fresh water resources. The scarcity of fresh water in Saudi Arabia recently brought a delegation of nine professionals from the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture to Watsonville to investigate how wastewater can be turned into a safe and reliable source of agricultural irrigation water.
The population of Saudi Arabia has grown to 30 million people, but the Arabian Peninsula has negligible fresh water. Their current strategy is to desalinate salt water and pipe it to major cities. At the Watsonville Wastewater Recycling Plant, the visiting Arabian scientists explored an excellent model of how to increase their crop irrigation water supply through the tertiary treatment of wastewater. The tour was lead by Watsonville Wastewater Division Manager Kevin Silviera in conjunction with the Center for Integrated Water Research at UCSC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and Advanced Water Resource Technologies at NASA.
The City is nationally recognized for successfully utilizing water recycling technologies, and was the recipient of the WateReuse 2009 Award of Merit for advancing and promoting the use of alternative water resources that will help create a sustainable and drought-proof water supply.