Water, Water, Where?

by John Prendergast, Associate Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 8, Pg. 38-41

Document Type: Feature article


Water—who gets it, where it comes from, who pays for it—has always been a central issue in California. Rapidly increasing demand, fierce environmental opposition to new sources and a drought that may yet turn out to be the worst this century have given a new urgency to the search for dependable supplies. A growing number of municipalities and water agencies are looking to wastewater reclamation and reuse for an answer. Major water agencies such as the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California are stepping up efforts to offer incentives to replace potable supplies with reclaimed water where possible. Vulnerable urban areas, including Los Angeles and San Diego, are pursuing ambitious plans for reuse that could cost billions. Increasing water reuse will depend on finding the money to install separate pipelines and pumping systems to bring treated water to customers. Lingering concerns over potential health effects and the skepticism of a water industry largely focused on increasing freshwater supplies will also have to be overcome. But reclamation proponents insist that the state can no longer afford to continue wasting its wastewater.

Subject Headings: Water reclamation | Water management | Water pipelines | Municipal wastewater | Droughts | Municipal water | Urban areas | Light rail transit | California | United States | Los Angeles

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