Action 18: Recycled Water
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Expand the use of recycled water.
Work with water agencies, municipalities, and stakeholders to reduce barriers to the broader use of recycled water. Support the use of the right water at the right time and in the right place.

Overview

Recycled water refers to water that is treated to potable or non-potable standards for a beneficial use. In the Bay Area, local wastewater agencies work individually and through partnerships like the Bay Area Clean Water Agencies (BACWA) to implement strategic uses of recycled water, minimize its costs and maximize its benefits, and communicate a unified message about its complexities to the public. Without strong cross-jurisdictional governance and management structures, approaches to managing recycled water can be inconsistent and inefficient.

Task Description

Share recycled water informational materials, resources, and program models among municipalities, wastewater agencies, and drinking water agencies.

Task Lead(s)

San Francisco Estuary Partnership

Task Collaborating Partner(s)

Bay Area Clean Water Agencies, Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Association of Bay Area Governments, WateReuse California, various municipalities, water and wastewater agencies

Cost Estimate Key

$ – Up to $100,000 $$ – Up to $1 million $$$ – Up to $10 million
$$$$ – Up to $100 million $$$$$ – Over $100 million

Cost Estimate

$$

Milestone(s)

Bay Area Clean Water Agencies Recycled Water Study finalized.

Task Description

Collaborate with the Bay Area Clean Water Agencies’ Recycled Water Committee stakeholders and others to identify opportunities to expand incorporation of recycled water in local and regional water resources planning processes.

Task Lead(s)

Bay Area Clean Water Agencies

Task Collaborating Partner(s)

Various municipalities, water and wastewater agencies

Cost Estimate Key

$ – Up to $100,000 $$ – Up to $1 million $$$ – Up to $10 million
$$$$ – Up to $100 million $$$$$ – Over $100 million

Cost Estimate

$$

Milestone(s)

Bay Area Clean Water Agencies Recycled Water Study finalized.

Task Description

Collaborate with the Bay Area Clean Water Agencies’ Recycled Water Committee and others to convene stakeholders to identify opportunities for the broader use of recycled water, understand funding and planning gaps, and address regulatory and permitting constraints.

Task Lead(s)

Bay Area Clean Water Agencies

Task Collaborating Partner(s)

Bay Area One Water Network, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Estuary Partnership, various municipalities, water and wastewater agencies

Cost Estimate Key

$ – Up to $100,000 $$ – Up to $1 million $$$ – Up to $10 million
$$$$ – Up to $100 million $$$$$ – Over $100 million

Cost Estimate

$

Milestone(s)

Forum to discuss overcoming challenges to regional recycled water projects.

Task Description

Evaluate reverse osmosis concentrate (ROC) management options to protect San Francisco Bay health and water quality while providing multiple stakeholder-driven benefits.

Task Lead(s)

Santa Clara Valley Water District

Task Collaborating Partner(s)

Bay Area One Water Network, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Estuary Partnership

Cost Estimate Key

$ – Up to $100,000 $$ – Up to $1 million $$$ – Up to $10 million
$$$$ – Up to $100 million $$$$$ – Over $100 million

Cost Estimate

$

Milestone(s)

Two to three semi-annual inter-agency discussions convened on the pathways to permitting ROC management.

Task Description

Task Lead(s)

Task Collaborating Partner(s)

Cost Estimate Key

$ – Up to $100,000 $$ – Up to $1 million $$$ – Up to $10 million
$$$$ – Up to $100 million $$$$$ – Over $100 million

Cost Estimate

Milestone(s)

Task Description

Task Lead(s)

Task Collaborating Partner(s)

Cost Estimate Key

$ – Up to $100,000 $$ – Up to $1 million $$$ – Up to $10 million
$$$$ – Up to $100 million $$$$$ – Over $100 million

Cost Estimate

Milestone(s)

Task Description

Task Lead(s)

Task Collaborating Partner(s)

Cost Estimate Key

$ – Up to $100,000 $$ – Up to $1 million $$$ – Up to $10 million
$$$$ – Up to $100 million $$$$$ – Over $100 million

Cost Estimate

Milestone(s)

Task Description

Task Lead(s)

Task Collaborating Partner(s)

Cost Estimate Key

$ – Up to $100,000 $$ – Up to $1 million $$$ – Up to $10 million
$$$$ – Up to $100 million $$$$$ – Over $100 million

Cost Estimate

Milestone(s)

Updates and Emerging Issues

Since 2016, this Action has been revised to include more measurable and achievable milestones. Additionally, advanced treatment of recycled water via reverse osmosis produces a concentrate, the management of which needs to be considered in planning efforts. Lastly, a deeper understanding of the connection between recycled water and estuarine health needs to be established in order to secure more public and elected buy-in.

Climate Change Considerations

This Action addresses water supply issues that will be exacerbated by climate change. As climate change prolongs droughts and the public practices increased water efficiency, recycled water faces the unique challenge of unpredictable supply and competition that affects industries such as landscaping and refineries.

Equity Considerations

Much of the Bay Area’s wastewater treatment infrastructure lies along the shoreline, as well as in or near frontline communities. Regional resilience planning efforts will need to consider pollution risks for these communities as the shoreline infrastructure adapts to rising seas.

Blueprint Goals

LivingResourcesGoal
ResilienceGoal
WaterGoal
StewardshipGoal
Review Action 18: Recycled Water in the report...
Pages-from-Final_2022Blueprint

Connections to Other Actions

Watershed connections provide unique habitat and ecosystem services closely related to or dependent upon:

Action 16: Freshwater Flows
Action 17: Water Conservation
Action 19: Stormwater Management
Action 20: Nutrients
Action 21: Emerging Contaminants
Action 22: Health Risks of Contaminants