Salinity Management Guide
National Water Research Institute
Southwest Membrane Operator Association
Multi-State Salinity Coalition


JUST RELEASED: New White Paper on Salinity in Irrigation Water (Feb 2018)

Southern California Salinity Coalition (SCSC) and WateReuse California sponsored the publication of a White Paper on “Accounting for Salinity Leaching in the Application of Recycled Water for Landscape Irrigation,” released in February 2018.  This White Paper was designed to provide science-based guidance to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) related to determining how much recycled water should be used for landscape irrigation to reduce negative effects of salinity on plant and soil health.  The authors of the White Paper are Dr. Amir Haghverdi and Dr. Laosheng Wu, both of the University of California, Riverside. Download the report here.

Applications for SCSC Graduate Fellowship Due March 1, 2018  

SCSC is now accepting applications for the SCSC-NWRI graduate fellowship program's 2018-2020 funding cycle. A fellowship of up to $10,000 per year for two years may be awarded to a graduate student conducting research that addresses the critical need to remove or reduce salts from water supplies in Southern California. Full-time graduate students attending a college or university in Southern California are eligible to apply. Research topics may include: Concentrate management, Institutional and regulatory/policy issues, Economic analysis, Innovative treatment technologies, Regional and watershed planning solutions, and Public education/awareness. The application process is managed by NWRI, so please visit the NWRI fellowship web page at to download instructions and the application cover sheet. 

** The deadline for the Fellowship Application is March 1, 2018. **

Study to Evaluate Long-Term Trends in TDS  

In early 2017, SCSC and the National Water Research Institue (NWRI)  jointly issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Study to Evaluate Long-Term Trends and Variations in the Average Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Concentration in Wastewater and Recycled Water.  The paper is currently under development.

The purpose of this effort is to (1) Evaluate long-term trends for salinity in wastewater and recycled water and (2) Assess how periodic droughts and various conservation measures may influence these trends. The investigation will characterize and quantify these relationships based on a series of case studies focused on service areas in southern California. SCSC will not advocate for a policy outcome but, rather, is looking for objective analysis to improve water resource management decisions across a spectrum of issues in light of the potential for climate change to affect water quality parameters. 

For questions on this study, contact Suzanne Sharkey, Water Resources Scientist and Project Manager, at or (714) 378-8236.

Presentations Available from 2016 Salinity Management Summit

The Southern California Salinity Coalition (SCSC) partnered with National Water Research Institute (NWRI) and Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) to present the Southern California Salinity Management Summit on November 17, 2016, at Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles. 

The Summit provided a forum for water and wastewater agencies in Southern California to share current practices for managing salinity in the water supply and to discuss how the current drought has affected water quality in California. Visit the event web page to download PDFs of the slides presented at the Summit.

SCSC Graduate Fellowship Awarded for 2016-2018

SCSC and the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) are pleased to announce that the 2016-2018 SCSC-NWRI Graduate Fellowship has been awarded to Ryan Gustafson, a doctoral student at University of Southern California. Mr. Gustafson is pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering under the supervision of Professor Amy Childress. His research focuses on the use of membrane distillation (MD), a thermally driven process that can be powered by alternative energy sources such as waste heat or solar thermal energy. Click here to learn more about the SCSC Fellowship Program.

"Salinity Management Study Update Workshop" Report

The "Salinity Management Study Update Workshop" report summarizes the workshop held by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and SCSC on June 1, 2012. The report includes results from the pre-workshop survey, summary of the working group discussions, and key recommendations in addresssing salinity management challenges and issues. Click here to download the 84-page report (2MB file).

Presentations from the Salinity Management Study Update Workshop (June 1, 2012)

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and SCSC held a workshop on June 1, 2012, to facilitate and inform an update of the 1999 Salinity Management Study.  Presentations and background material from the workshop are now available. Click here for more information about the workshop.

Watch a Brief (5 min.) Video on Salinity Issues in Southern California

Click on the video below to learn more about salinity issues and SCSC.


Final Project Report on "Automatic Water Softener Rebate Program-Phase II: Public Outreach Program" (2010)

This report describes details efforts taken by the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District of Los Angeles County to develop and implement a successful residential automatic water softener rebate and outreach program.  Included in the report are activities and lessons learned from the outreach process, as well as how these lessons continue to direct outreach efforts in the community.

Click here to download the 107-page report (7 MB file).

Final Project Report on "Desalination Recovery Enhancement and Concentrate Management Study – Phase II" (2010)

This report describes the outcomes of Phase II of a pilot project aimed at reducing brine volumes discharged to the Santa Ana Regional Interceptor (SARI) from local desalters. The project incorporated testing of chemical softening, followed by secondary reverse osmosis (RO) and electrodialysis reversal (EDR) to reduce brine volume and produce additional potable water.

For Phase II, lessons learned were incorporated into the design and operation of a more robust system that would allow for longer uninterrupted RO and EDR operation. In addition, a major goal included the testing and analysis of lime softening sludge, as well as evaluating sludge dewatering and disposal options.

Click here to download the 154-page report (6 MB file).

Proposed Guidelines for Salinity/Nutrient Management Planning in the San Diego Region (2010)

SCSC and the San Diego County Water Authority have developed “Proposed Guidelines for Salinity/Nutrient Management Planning in the San Diego Region,” which provide a standardized approach and framework for developing salinity/nutrient management plans.  These guidelines were endorsed by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region in November 2010. 

The guidelines include sections on constituents of concern, aquifer characterization, proposed planning approach and priorities, and salinity management tasks. To download the 102-page guidelines, please click here

Reports Available for Southern California Regional Brine-Concentrate Management Study-Phase I

The following reports based off of the Southern California Regional Brine-Concentrate Management Study-Phase 1 are now available at the Bureau of Reclamation’s website:

  • Executive Summary of the Southern California Regional Brine-Concentrate Management Study-Phase I
  • Survey of Brine-Concentrate Landscape Report
  • Identification of Regulatory Issues and Trends Report
  • Review of Secondary and Emerging Constituents Report
  • Identification of Institutional Issues Report
  • Evaluation of Brine-Concentrate and Disposal Options Report
  • Identification of Brine-Concentrate Pilot/Demonstrative Projects Report

The reports are available for download at

Summary from the Oct. 2009 Salinity Management Plan Implementation Workshop, San Diego Region - Available to Download

A 27-page summary of the “Salinity Management Plan Implementation Workshop” held on October 6, 2009, in  San Diego, CA, which discussed salinity management issues within the San Diego Region, is now available to download.  The summary includes a workshop overview, discussion of presentations, stakeholder input, and next steps. 

Major issues addressed in the summary include: developing salt and nutrient management plans, basin plan water quality standards, developing new water supplies, and motivation for participating. To access the summary, please click here.

Sponsors of the workshop included San Diego County Water Authority; Regional Water Quality Board, San Diego Region; and SCSC. 

Fact SheetSCSC Salinity Fact Sheet - Available to Download

In August 2009, SCSC developed a Salinity Fact Sheet on “Salinity and Water Softeners” to help inform the discussion around Assembly Bill 1366, which is intended to restrict the use of self-regenerating water softeners to help control salinity in our water supplies.

The 2-page SCSC Face Sheet provides information on what is salinity, the impacts of salinity, how salinity inhibits water recycling, how water softeners increase salinity, and possible options in changing or eliminating the use of residential self-regenerating water softeners. 

To view or download the Salinity Fact Sheet, please click here.

Seminar cover

Summary from the San Diego Region Salinity Seminar - Available to Download

Salinity management is a major water challenge for Southern California and the Southwest. Without appropriate salinity management efforts, increasing salinity levels will significantly impact our communities.

The Southern California Salinity Coalition (SCSC) held a “Salinity Seminar” on June 18, 2008, in San Diego, California, to raise awareness and engage water and wastewater agencies and stakeholders on salinity issues in the San Diego region.

The 28-page summary from the San Diego Region Salinity Seminar is now available. To view or download the Salinity Seminar Presentations - click here.

salt guide coverSalinity Management Guide Is Available Online or as a CD-ROM

Now available are complimentary copies of the Salinity Management Guide, a new tool showing how recycled water can be safely used for landscape irrigation and that salinity can be addressed through proper management strategies.

Developed for landscape designers, park managers and others, seeking to irrigate a landscape with recycled water or other water of elevated salinity, the Salinity Management Guide covers topics that include: salinity and related concepts, designing and redesigning landscapes, and how to solve problems related to plants, water or soil.

To view the interactive Guide on the web, click here.