By John Beuttler, CSPA Conservation Director
Governor Schwarzenegger has signed Senate Bill 918 authored by State Senator Fran Pavley and co-sponsored by the Planning & Conservation League and the WateReuse Association. The new law directs the State Department of Public Health to develop criteria for safely using recycled water to supplement groundwater basins, reservoirs and the state’s water supplies.
Given what many are calling the State’s Water Crisis and the destruction of many of the fisheries in the Central Valley, this legislation provides a viable solution to improve our water supply. Some 4 million acre-feet of water can now be effectively reused annually. It is our hope that this will mark a critical turning point in the management and reuse of our water supply to enable regional water supplies to be more self sufficient.
The implementation of SB 918 should play a key role in reducing demand on the waters of the Bay-Delta estuary and its Central Valley tributaries enabling the less water to be exported from our rivers where salmon and steelhead fisheries are barely clinging to existence.
CSPA, in conjunction with the Environmental Water Caucus (EWC) has being urging the state government to adopt a suite of water conservation technologies to significantly reduce the over appropriation of water exported from northern California. Water reuse is just one of a number of conservation tools that will hopefully be championed by our state government to address our state’s water needs in time to restore the public’s salmon, steelhead and striped bass fisheries.
For more information on water conservation tools and a strategy for reducing demand on our water supply, see EWC’s web site at http://ewccalifornia.org/ and be sure to review their outstanding document “California Water Solutions Now”.