State Water Board Delivers Report to Legislature on the Feasibility of Using Recycled Water for Drinking Water

California State Water Resources Control Board, 12/30/16

A report released today by the State Water Resources Control Board concludes that it is feasible to develop and adopt regulations for using recycled water as drinking water, provided that certain research and key knowledge gaps are addressed.

The report was delivered to the state Legislature, completing a key step toward fulfilling Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s goal of more sustainable water resources, as highlighted in the California Water Action Plan. Recycled water is part of a multi-faceted effort to diversify California’s water supplies and increase long-term resilience.

Direct potable reuse (DPR) is the addition of recycled water directly into a drinking water system or into a raw water supply immediately upstream of a drinking water treatment plant. No other state has yet developed regulations specifically for direct potable reuse.

Senate Bill 918 (Pavley, 2010) and SB 322 (Hueso, 2013) directed the State Water Board to investigate the feasibility of creating regulations for direct potable reuse. The legislation created an Expert Panel and Advisory Group to assist the staff of the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water to investigate the feasibility of creating regulations.

A draft report was issued on Sept. 8, followed by a 45-day public comment period. The Division of Drinking Water reviewed the comments and presented them to the Board at its meeting on Dec. 6. No major changes were made to the report.

The final report lays the groundwork for creating regulations for a new and reliable source of potable water. But the adoption of regulations related to the direct potable reuse of recycled water will not take place until the knowledge gaps are addressed and additional research is conducted related to specific public health issues.

For more information about the report and its recommendations, see the webpage on direct potable reuse: