Why is Irvine So Green?

Inside Irvine

If you’ve ever wondered why Irvine looks lusher and green than other communities, it’s because of their recycled water program.

In 1967, the Irvine Ranch Water District established the Michelson Water Recycling Plant. The premise behind the program was that “Water is too valuable to use just once.” Since then, they have built a dedicated system – separate and distinct from the drinking water supply – that carries recycled water from treatment facilities to irrigation sites all over the district. Today, more than 20 million gallons per day of recycled water flows through more than 500 miles of purple pipes. This system is not only responsible for recycling 9 billion gallons of water every year, but also explains why the city is able to maintain tree-lined streets, green parks, and lush common areas.

So what does this mean for you? More nutrients are retained when water is reclaimed, so this reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. On a larger scale, golf courses, parks, and local governments have reported lower fertilization costs, but on a smaller scale this could mean reduced costs in landscaping around your property. In addition, recycled water is generally available at much lower prices compared to drinking water, so businesses and industries can receive an inexpensive, dependable water supply. Furthermore, recycled water produces by-products such as soil amendments and electricity, both of which can be used to protect the environment, enrich the land, and improve air quality. Over the years, testing and research has found recycled water to be pathogen-free meaning proper sanitation processes will lead to fewer water borne diseases in the U.S. and thus longer life expectancy.