California has just experienced what may be the worst drought of the last 500 years. If history is a guide, however, the next drought may be just around the corner and we need to be prepared. WateReuse California is actively engaged in working with our appointed and elected officials to pass legislation and develop regulations that will accelerate the implementation of both non-potable and potable reuse. The depth and breadth of experience within the organization also makes us the go-to organization for communities who are advancing water reuse to meet local demand for water.
2020 Survey Shows Recycled Water Use in California on the Rise
In 2020, the amount of water recycled in California under the state’s Title 22 regulations grew 6 percent over the previous year to reach 728,000 acre-feet per year, according to new numbers released by the State Water Resources Control Board. Combined with recycled water used for environmental protection, which is not considered a Title 22 use,the state now exceeds 1 million acre-feet (MAF) of water recycling annually.
The Water Board released its annual volumetric survey results for 2020, which included Title 22 uses, wastewater discharge, and influent totals. Ninety-four percent of recycled water and wastewater agencies responded to the survey. WateReuse California (WRCA) testified that the potable reuse totals are expected to more than double in the next few years as major projects have begun construction and direct potable reuse regulations are in draft form. WRCA also asked that the Water Board include the “instream flow” and “natural systems” recycled water uses in its statewide totals as this will give the public a more complete understanding of the benefits of recycled water to California.
Title 22 regulations are for the purpose of protecting human health and do not include use categories for environmental protection.
WateReuse California Hosts Successful Conference, Registration Still Available for Virtual Event
Nearly 600 people participated in the 2021 WateReuse California Annual Conference September 19-21, including more than 400 people that attended the hybrid event in person in Los Angeles. California’s recycled water community came together to learn, network, and discover the latest trends. In a moment of fun, Southern California took their first win in a Family Feud competition that featured questions on water recycling.
Call to Action: Advocate for Recycled Water Funding in Drought Package
WateReuse California and the Southern California Water Coalition have developed a 55-second video to advocate for $750 million for recycled water in the California Drought Package. With the pandemic and no opportunity to “walk the halls” in the state Capitol, we need to find additional ways to have our reuse message stand out with the Legislature and key staff. But we need your help to make this happen.
Please help us by doing the following:
- Post the video on all your social media channels;
- Contact your legislators today to ask for $750 million in recycled water funding in the Drought Package (see our template letter, WRCA advocacy letter and funding survey). Please let WRCA know if these contacts are made;
- Post the video to your agency or company website.
Bay Area Recycled Water Landscape Guide Released
WateReuse California is pleased to announce the release of a Bay Area guide to using recycled water on landscapes: “Irrigating San Francisco Bay Area Landscapes with Recycled Water.” The guide is an easy to use 20-page document that includes a plant list for the Bay Area. WRCA hopes its Bay Area members will use the guide by posting it on their websites and making it available to their customers. Learn more.
DPR: A Resilient Water Supply for California’s Future
Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) is a source of local supply to help blunt impacts of climate change and create more than 1 million AFY of new water supply California. In this special issue of Clean Water, co-authored by WateReuse California, learn about the Expert Panel guiding DPR regulatory development, the research that is helping to fill in information gaps, and the innovative DPR projects leading the way. Clean Water is the publication of the California Water Environment Association (CWEA).
WateReuse Members Partner on Recycled Water Video Series
Several WateReuse members partnered with the Southern California Water Coalition to produce a new video series titled Water: Too Precious to Use Just Once.
WateReuse Mourns the Loss of Bahman Sheikh
The WateReuse community mourns the loss of Dr. Bahman Sheikh who passed away on July 28, 2020 at his home in San Francisco. Bahman was a true water reuse pioneer, who for half a century helped countless communities recycle their water, across the United States and around the world. Born in Mashad, Iran, Bahman came to California in 1962 and received his MS and Ph.D. at UC Davis in Irrigation and Soil Physics. We extend our condolences to his wife Charlotte and join his family and friends around the world in honoring his legacy even as we mourn his loss. A giant has left the room. Read More.
Water Board States Recycled Water is Safe from COVID-19
The California Water Board released a fact sheet explaining that California’s recycled water and treated wastewater are safe from the COVID-19 virus. According to the fact sheet, sanitation experts have determined that existing treatment plant disinfection processes successfully disinfect wastewater containing the COVID-19 virus. Municipal wastewater treatment plants in California go beyond minimum requirements and provide additional tertiary filtration treatment to meet stringent State Water Board public health standards for water disposal or water recycling whenever there is a risk to the public.
ESWRT Editorial: California’s Robust Multi-Barrier Treatment Requirements Protect Potable Reuse Supplies from SARS CoV2
Please see the latest editorial in Environmental Science Water Research and Technology that examines how California’s regulations, with their robust multi-barrier treatment processes, protect potable reuse supplies from emerging pathogens, including for SARS CoV2 (COVID-19). Learn what additional studies and actions are underway to assess the full impacts of COVID-19 on potable reuse supplies and future regulations for Direct Potable Reuse. Read More.
California WateReuse Action Plan
WateReuse California released the California WateReuse Action Plan — a comprehensive set of proposed actions that will more than double the use of water recycling in California and help prepare the state for the impacts of climate change. The Plan identifies four strategic areas for action: research, regulations, regional planning and funding and includes 20 specific recommendations.