California Recycles Water to Ease Drought Shortages

California Recycles Water to Ease Drought Shortages


California has been under the duress of severe water shortages for the last four years but an innovative new plan for recycling water for commercial uses is bring hope to two towns seeking to ease the effect of the drought on their residents. Although rain from recent storms bring some relief, the sustained dry spell has created a severe water crisis that will not be solved overnight. However, recycled H20 filling stations in Milpitas and San Jose are making waste water available for commercial trucks in order to conserve perfectly good drinking water for human consumption.

The news release by the San José Environmental Services Department (SJESD) states the the South Bay Water Recycling (SBWR) system will provide recycled water to three types of commercial truck: construction spray trucks for dust control on construction projects, misting street sweepers and sewer cleanout trucks. These three uses for recycled wastewater are approved to limit the demand for clean drinking water which is at a premium in the parched state. SBWR already supplies recycled water to San José, Milpitas and Santa Clara for industrial cooling towers, flushing toilets and irrigation but the addition of water trucks to the list of permitted uses is an attempt to further ease the burden of the drought on California residents struggling with shortages of potable drinking water.

The SJESD reports that the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) construction project saves approximately 75,000 gallons of drinking water daily by using recycled water to settle the dust raised by the construction efforts. It is one more step in the ongoing effort to safeguard the clean water supplies and ensure the ongoing availability of water fit for human consumption. SJESD ‘s director Kerrie Romanow avows that “every drop counts” and reiterates their commitment to find sustainable water solutions for California residents while complying with state regulations on the use of recycled water.

San José has seven recycled water filling stations available with five more. Santa Clara plans to open an additional station sometime this year. Other towns in the San Francisco Bay Area are making similar efforts in their communities and it is expected that more will follow suit as the upcoming warmer spring weather compound the long-term and ongoing water shortages facing Californians. The Dublin San Ramon Services District is even offering free recycled water for residential landscaping purposes for anyone willing to be properly trained in its use and methods to safeguard the wastewater from mixing with the drinking water.

The extended period of drought has left the land parched, plants and animals suffering, and California farmers struggling to maintain a sufficient water supply to sustain their crops and animals’ well being causing prices of dairy products to skyrocket as the cost of feeding and watering the livestock escalates. The recycled water plan holds out hope of weathering this crisis and alleviating the shortages that have plagued the state for so long. The prospect of solutions to ease their burdens is good news for Californians and it is expected that many towns around the state will follow their example to bring relief to their beleaguered residents.

By Tamara Christine


San Jose City News and Information

Dublin San Ramon Services District

Environmental Leader

Water Technology Online


Image courtesy of Steve BowbrickFlickr Image