SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In a first step toward wide adoption of potable reused water, Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) introduced legislation today, AB 2022, allowing water agencies to bottle their potable reused water and distribute small amounts for free for educational purposes. Under current law, consumers must visit a water recycling facility in person to taste this clean, safe reused water that is often more pure than regular tap water.
California's five-year drought has highlighted the fact that we must diversify our water portfolio to ensure water security for our growing population. "Californians are just one sip away from getting comfortable with drinking purified reused water. I tasted purified reused water from the Santa Clara Valley Water District; it was clear, delicious and surpassed health and safety standards," said Gordon, who is Chairman of the Assembly's Select Committee on Water Consumption and Alternative Sources. "This legislation will allow Californians to get a small taste of one of our main water sources of the future."
Other advanced economies, such as Singapore, that live with water scarcity have been bottling advanced purified reused water for years. With this legislation, California will once again be the first in the nation to demonstrate how innovative technology and a progressive mindset can address our limited resources. "This is the water that the astronauts drink!" said Gordon.
One of the bill's co-sponsors, the Orange County Water District and the Orange County Sanitation District, operate the world's largest advanced water purification system. Their water meets and exceeds state and federal drinking water standards. "Each year, billions of gallons of treated wastewater that would otherwise be discharged to the Pacific Ocean can be captured, reused and serve as a safe and reliable source of water to help fulfill California's ever-growing demand," said OCWD President Cathy Green. "Thousands of stakeholders have toured our facility, the Groundwater Replenishment System, to learn about this advanced purification technology first-hand and taste the ultra-pure water. We have witnessed that tasting and seeing is believing, and we support legislation to bottle this type of water."
"Drinking this water is one of the most effective ways to educate the public about the advanced purification process that turns wastewater into water that exceeds all drinking water standards," said Jennifer West, Managing Director of WateReuse California, another co-sponsor of the bill. "By allowing the bottling of this water for educational purposes only, AB 2022 will provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the treatment process and this new and growing source of drinking water supply for California."
"California is a national leader on developing highly purified recycled water," said Sean Bothwell, Policy Director of California Coastkeeper Alliance. "This legislation will undoubtedly create more recycled water fans so that more communities can realize the potential of this resilient, sustainable water supply."