State Water Board Adopts Regulations for Augmenting Reservoirs with Treated Recycled Water
From the State Water Resources Control Board:
Providing local water suppliers with a new tool to improve their drought resilience, the State Water Resources Control Board [yesterday] adopted water quality and other requirements to ensure the safe use of treated recycled water to augment surface water supplies.
“Cities and counties around the state are looking to stretch their local water supplies in the face of an increasingly uncertain water future,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “Water efficiency and reuse are the smartest ways to help our water resources go further. Today’s action is another important step in expanding the sensible use of recycled water in California.”
The new regulations set requirements for the quality of treated recycled water that can be added to a surface water reservoir that is used as source of drinking water. The regulations also specify the percentage of recycled water that can be added and how long it must reside there before being treated again at a surface water treatment facility and provided as drinking water.
Adoption of the regulation went through a public process of review and comment over two years, including an independent scientific review and guidance by an Expert Panel created in 2014 to assist the State Water Board in developing regulations for recycled water. The panel determined the surface water regulations adequately protect public health.
In addition to water quality requirements, the regulations also require local water systems to engage the public in developing “surface water augmentation” projects. The regulations recognize that public education and maintaining public confidence in their water supplies are essential parts of a project’s success.
Today’s action is the board’s latest effort to develop uniform statewide rules allowing for the expanded use of recycled water to indirectly supplement existing drinking water supplies. In 2014, the State Water Board set requirements for using treated recycled water to recharge groundwater. The same year the board adopted statewide rules for outdoor uses of recycled water and for irrigating crops.
The State Water Board is also working on regulations for “direct potable reuse,” in which treated recycled water is added directly into a drinking water system or into a raw water supply immediately upstream of a drinking water treatment plant. These rules are expected by 2023 after further research, expert consultation and public engagement to ensure the regulations protect public health while increasing drinking water supplies.
As California faces more severe and frequent droughts due to climate change, as well as the pressures of a growing population, water recycling is part of a portfolio of state strategies for building local self-reliance and providing more sustainable, reliable water supplies, as outlined in Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s California Water Action Plan.
Today’s approval of regulations for surface water augmentation streamlines the process for drinking water providers to diversify their water sources, in order to provide a relatively reliable, drought-resilient, and sustainable option for supplementing the water in a surface water reservoir that is used as a source of domestic drinking water supply.
Senate Bill 918 (Pavley, 2010) and SB 322 (Hueso, 2013) directed the State Water Board to investigate the feasibility of creating regulations for direct and indirect potable reuse. The State Water Board continues to support the wise utilization of all our water resources and recycled water is an important part of California’s water portfolio.
Last year, the State Water Board funded more than $748 million worth of water recycling projects using Proposition 1 grant and loan funds, and low-interest loans from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. These projects are projected to add 44,980 acre-feet of recycled water per year to California’s overall water supply portfolio.
Sierra Nevada Forests: California’s Climate Hero or Villain?
Fourth Annual Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program Summit to focus on greenhouse gas impacts of wildfires and tree mortality
From the Sierra Nevada Conservancy:
Sierra Nevada forests should be absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it as carbon, helping to offset emissions in California. However, recent large, damaging wildfires and unprecedented levels of tree mortality are jeopardizing that important service.[Today], leaders and representatives from state and federal agencies, rural counties, and tribes will gather in Sacramento to discuss the impacts that drought, wildfires, and insects are having on the forests of the Sierra Nevada, and what those impacts mean for California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.
“California is making a lot of decisions about how to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate,” says Jim Branham, Executive Officer for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. “Unhealthy forests; large, damaging wildfires; and extreme levels of tree mortality release greenhouse gas emissions instead of offsetting them, and may make many of our other efforts less effective.”
The group will gather for the fourth annual Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program (WIP) Summit, an event hosted by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to share recent research about the state of forest and watershed health in the Sierra Nevada region and provide updates on progress made under the WIP. The WIP is a large-scale restoration program co-led by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service, and supported by a broad range of stakeholders interested in increasing the pace and scale of restoration across the Sierra Nevada region to meet California’s climate goals.
Summit presenters will include Steven Ostoja, Director of the USDA California Climate Hub; Ashley Conrad-Saydah, Deputy Secretary for Climate Policy from the California Environmental Protection Agency; Eli Ilano, Forest Supervisor for the Tahoe National Forest; and Chief Ken Pimlott, Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Created in 2004, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) is a state agency whose mission is to improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada Region. The SNC has awarded nearly $60 million in grants for projects to protect and enhance the health of California’s primary watersheds by improving forest health; remediating mercury contamination from abandoned mines; protecting critical natural resources; and reducing the risk of large, damaging wildfires. Funding for these projects came from Proposition 84 passed by voters in 2006 and Proposition 1 passed by voters in 2014.
The Sierra Nevada Region spans 25 million acres, encompasses all or part of 22 counties, and runs from the Oregon border on the north to Kern County on the south. The Region is the origin of more than 60 percent of California’s developed water supply.
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About News Worth Noting: News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms. If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.