KSBW, Monterey, 6/25/14
Water districts are experimenting with the idea of putting treated sewage water through another filtering process to make it safe to drink
MONTEREY, Calif. —Leaders from around the state gathered in Monterey Wednesday for a week-long conference looking at possible solutions to California's water crisis.
Water districts are experimenting with the idea of putting treated sewage water through another filtering process to make it safe to drink.
One of the new water sources being explored is treating sewage water to make it drinkable.
Treated sewage water is already being used as a source of water, just not for drinking. The treated water is used to irrigate golf courses and parks.
But now water districts in San Diego and Santa Clara County are experimenting with the idea of putting the treated water through another filtering process and making it safe to drink.
But the cost and public perception remain formidable obstacles to making the idea a reality elsewhere.
"The question is, is the water safe? In our demonstration project in San Diego ... monitoring of the water quality demonstrated the water is safe. It's very high quality. It meets all federal and state drinking standards," said Jeff Pasek, San Diego's water manager.
Pasek said Orange County is already doing it. And he said such a treatment plant could provide up to 30 percent of the city's water supply. "Well, that 30 percent means that much of a reduction on reliance of other sources of water for San Diego. That's really important because we are very reliant on imported water from outside the San Diego region," Pasek said. The drought is no doubt highlighting the need for new water sources. Cal-Am talked about the desalination plant it hopes to get approval for at Wednesday's gathering.
Simpler things that homeowners could do were also highlighted, like capturing rain water that spills out of gutters. "Catching rain water and using it, or storm water that would just normally run off a street and into the river or something like that, or reusing water, reclamation of water for irrigation or flushing toilets. Now we need to exploit all of those," said Bruce Macler, with the Environmental Protection Agency.
The water conference continues Thursday. It will include a tour of the San Clemente Dam, which is scheduled to be removed.