The language here is so delicate, which is in itself an interesting issue:
It is now possible to imagine a future in which highly treated wastewater will be plumbed directly into California homes as a new drinking water supply.
That’s Matt Weiser on California’s next big step in institutionally normalizing “direct potable reuse” – the treatment of wastewater and its reintroduction directly into our drinking water.
This is a live question right now for colleagues here at the University of New Mexico where one of our water faculty, Caroline Scruggs, has been spearheading research into questions of public acceptance of DPR. The water policy questions are complicated – issues of public acceptance, questions of where the wastewater is going now (in the ocean? into a river where the reuse is already happening downstream?).
In California, where treated effluent is often disposed of directly to the ocean, current questions of water scarcity are driving a robust discussion. Matt’s story outlines the next big step – the beginnings of the establishment of a regulatory framework governing DPR.
An important next step.