The City of Poway takes water quality seriously.
“We see it as a non-negotiable responsibility,” City Manager Tina White said.
Routine maintenance is necessary to keep Poway’s water system maintained; the most efficient and effective means to do that is through a process called “flushing.”
Flushing forces water through water mains at an extremely high velocity, scouring pipes and ridding them of sediment, mineral build-up or water treatment by-products that may have settled in the system. This process also gives staff the opportunity to inspect the system and make sure valves and fire hydrants will work properly during an emergency.
While flushing might look wasteful, over the course of a year it uses less than one percent of the city’s total water use. That’s roughly equal to the amount of water used by 31 homes over the same period of time.
Flushing is considered standard industry practice by water agencies to keep water safe and protect public health. Unidirectional flushing, which is the method used by Poway, saves water over conventional flushing, improves water quality and allows the city to ensure the water distribution system is functioning properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does the water go when the system is flushed?Discharged water is generally channeled into storm drains, which lead to natural bodies of water. For that reason, it is dechlorinated to protect wildlife and sensitive species. In most areas, this water feeds existing streams and wetlands, benefiting the health and well-being of these bodies of water.
Why can’t the city capture the water flushed?Recapturing this water would be ideal, but the reality is that it’s extremely difficult due to the velocity and duration of the water flow. It’s also not cost-effective. The cost of flushed water is only $50. The cost to flush one hydrant using a water truck would be about $650.
How can the city justify releasing that much water in light of the drought?During the drought, the city put its flushing program on hold. But now that the regulations have been relaxed, the city has determined that it’s in the best interest of our water system to return to this “best practices” method of maintaining the high level of water quality that our residents have come to expect and deserve.
About the Poway Water System
- Lake Poway holds about 1 billion gallons of water.
- The city operates a modern water treatment plant and produces about 4 billion gallons of drinking water each year.
- Poway's drinking water consistently meets and often exceeds all state and federal standards for water quality.
- The city maintains about 269 miles of water pipe.