Metropolitan celebrates water legacy of U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano, names recycled water facility in her honor

News for Immediate Release__
Metropolitan celebrates water legacy of U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano, names recycled water facility in her honor
Nov. 2, 2023

Congresswoman, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner join local officials at dedication of newly named demonstration plant.

CARSON, Calif. – Honoring the visionary leadership and legacy of the retiring congresswoman who championed water issues, the Metropolitan Water District today dedicated the Grace F. Napolitano Pure Water Southern California Innovation Center, the demonstration plant of the regional recycled water program it is developing in partnership with the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. 

Napolitano was joined at the ceremony by local and federal leaders, including U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton, who celebrated the congresswoman’s achievements and heralded the naming of the Grace F. Napolitano Pure Water Southern California Innovation Center as a fitting tribute to the congresswoman’s hard work and dedication to sustainable water solutions.

Throughout her remarkable legislative tenure, Napolitano has supported efforts to increase the use of recycled water – building widespread support for the technology and securing critical federal funds for projects across the region. And these efforts are just one element of her personal commitment to ensuring every Southern Californian has safe, reliable drinking water.

Once built, Pure Water Southern California will be one of the largest water recycling projects in the world, producing enough water to meet the demands of 1.5 million Southern Californians. It will purify cleaned wastewater to provide an invaluable climate-resilient supply of high-quality drinking water for the region.

The Grace F. Napolitano Pure Water Southern California Innovation Center is testing each stage of the innovative purification process to make certain that the purified water meets or exceeds California’s water quality standards – among the highest in the world. And the center is building public understanding of the science behind recycled water with tours and education programs.  

In addition to her vital work expanding the use and support for recycled water, Napolitano has championed policies to improve water infrastructure, promote conservation, increase storage capacity and ensure water quality, helping California and the nation adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Most recently, Napolitano’s leadership and determination led to the creation of the Large-Scale Water Recycling Program, which will provide $450 million in federal funds to large water recycling projects across the west, like Pure Water Southern California.

What the speakers said:

“I am incredibly grateful for the leadership of the many water agency board members and staff who are here today and throughout Southern California who have been at the forefront of this water recycling innovation. The great accomplishments we have achieved in Congress are because of the information and advice local officials have given us on how to create federal programs and cut through red tape to improve these projects. Thank you to the public officials here and throughout our community for everything you do day-in and day-out to serve affordable and clean water to our residents and businesses. Thank you for this great honor of adding my name to the Pure Water Southern California Innovation Center.”

Grace Napolitano, U.S. House of Representatives

“Dedicating the plant at Pure Water Southern California as the Grace F. Napolitano Pure Water Southern California Innovation Center is a demonstration of the gratitude for her contributions to her constituents – and to the nation. This is a meaningful and well-deserved tribute in recognition of Congresswoman Napolitano’s staunch advocacy for securing a clean, sustainable water supply.”  

Camille Calimlim Touton, commissioner, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

“What can be universally said about Congresswoman Napolitano is that she is the ultimate connector of people and creator of solutions. Imagine her the needle and us the thread. She has banded us together to address our challenges – to clean up uranium tailings in Moab, Utah; to expand water recycling across the state; to increase water conservation in homes; and to develop water career training programs, ensuring we have the future workforce we need. This center for innovation in the science of water recycling can only have one name, and it is in honor of Congresswoman Grace Napolitano.”

Adán Ortega, Jr., Metropolitan Water District board chair

“Not only will the Grace F. Napolitano Pure Water Southern California Innovation Center revolutionize the way we think about water but, like the congresswoman, it will also inspire the next generation of citizens, innovators, and leaders. The center symbolizes a brighter and more sustainable future for our region.” 

Adel Hagekhalil, Metropolitan Water District general manager

“We consider the congresswoman to be a long-time friend to the Sanitation Districts. As a result of her leadership, billions of dollars have been authorized … and a generous share of these funds has been used by Southern California’s water community to carry out important water, wastewater and water recycling projects.”

Robert C. Ferrante, Sanitation Districts chief engineer and general manager

“For the 13 years that I’ve known Rep. Napolitano, first as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and up to my retirement last year as a Major General, and now as a water professional in the Southern California Water Industry, she has simply been my inspiration. If there is anyone who lives the Army motto, ‘Be All You Can Be’ – it’s her!”

Mark Toy, Yorba Linda Water District general manager, retired Major General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that, along with its 26 cities and retail suppliers, provides water for 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.