Water Sense 1999-2002

M E T R O P O L I T A N   W A S T E W A T E R   D E P A R T M E N T N O R T H   C I T Y  W A S T E W A T E R   R E C L A M A T I O N   P L A N T, San Diego, California, 1999-2002

Commissioner: City of San Diego, Metropolitan Wastewater Department

stainless steel, landscape

length of wings, and height dimensions of each dragonfly: 12’, 14’, 16’, 18’ and 20’


The design of the North City Reclamation project explores the importance of water in relationship to society and ecology. Physically and conceptually, the artwork is a reflection of the facility’s commitment to water reclamation and water supply for the region. Two elements are created at the center of the grassy island of the circular driveway in front of the operations building. Water feature constructed in the shape of logarithmic spiral is a typical of shell growth. The landscaping surrounding the water feature consists of low maintenance plants compatible with reclaimed water use. Cattails, tall grasses and native water plants found in the river or pond environment are planted in and around the spiral.

A group of five large kinetic sculptures activates the site and welcomes visitors and facility employees. The sculptural form is derived from the wings of dragonflies. Dragonflies are one of the earth’s most ancient insects surviving from the Jurassic period. The wings of dragonflies represent the presence of clean water, since they are considered to be nature’s water quality monitors.  Clean water brings dragonflies back to the environment.


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