This summer, thanks to legislation written by Supervisor Scott Wiener, San Francisco became the first in the country to require new developments (more than 250,000 square feet) to use onsite water reuse systems for anything that requires non-potable water.
This means that when it comes to the water used in buildings for things such as cooling towers, irrigation and toilet flushing, developers can't use pristine drinking water.
"Two-thirds of the reuse potential is in coastal areas where wastewater is discharged into the ocean or into streams that drain into the ocean." While San Francisco's mandate for new developments is thought to be the first of its kind, water reuse in the state is not necessarily new.
It's been implemented in the agricultural sectors for decades and Orange County made headlines in 2008 when it began using treated wastewater to recharge drinking water aquifers in a so-called "toilet to tap" program.
"We decided to remove that barrier and let innovation occur." In 2013 the program was amended to allow for two or more buildings to form a district and share or sell water between them, which she says can be more cost effective.
Santa Barbara plans to spend million to dust off a shuttered desalination plant to turn seawater into drinking water.
In some places in the Central Valley, entire communities are at risk of drying up.
Many are pinning their hopes to wet weather predictions from a coming El Niño.
What are the conclusions and policy recommendations based on those lessons learned?
States Where You Can’t Throw E-Waste Into the Trash.