People should drink more recycled wastewater

But if you are able to recycle the water on a large scale, you have a strong hedge against drought. “This is a very reliable source, the ability to access the wastewater flow, clean it up, and then use it to offset the need for other supplies,” says Michael Kibarsky, director of the Wheeler Institute for Water at UC Berkeley.

Indeed, water recycling is an investment. As water becomes more scarce in the West, it is also getting more expensive. The cost of imported water in San Diego has tripled in the past 15 years. This can be a powerful factor for voters when it comes to supporting water recycling projects. “People’s bills are also very motivating, right?” Gloria asks. “When you explain to them that if we can control this resource ourselves – we don’t have to rely on our north water managers, or multi-state agreements, water transfer agreements with other counties – when we can control it ourselves, there is a greater amount of control in costs.”


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Historically, though, policymakers have had to fight the “dirty factor” of recycled water. People may not trust it, even though it is amazingly pure. (I’ve I tried it before—It was refreshing and didn’t kill me.) But Gloria points out that if your municipality draws water from the Colorado River or another river, and you’re downstream from other municipalities doing the same, you actually Drink recycled water. “Everyone took that water, used it, re-drained it, and it’s on its way down here,” Gloria says. “So if you think you’re not really involved in some form of water reuse, you’re probably wrong.”

But as with stock picking, it’s safer to hedge your bet with a diversified portfolio of resources rather than owning a single asset. Any city that depends on a single river or lake as its sole source of water is asking for trouble, because the more frequent and severe droughts that come with climate change will cause market fluctuations on a large scale. “I think water right now is our biggest natural challenge,” says Adrian Bursa, a geophysicist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego who studies how aquifers store water. Drought is a more certain near-term danger to the West than other dangers city planners have to take into account, such as earthquakes. “It’s no longer like, ‘Oh, we’re going to get this magnitude 7 degrees on the San Andreas Fault. “It will happen at some point, but certainly We will face the challenges of water scarcity.”

So Southern California cities are getting creative in diversifying their investment portfolios. The Carlsbad desalination plant Seawater is treated much the same way a recycling plant works – by passing it through membranes. San Diego County supplies 50 million gallons of fresh water daily. In Los Angeles 150 acres The territory of the Tujunga spread They act like giant sponges, sucking up storm water which then seeps into the aquifer below. Elsewhere around Los Angeles, specially designed green spaces along roadsides do the same, collecting water in underground tanks.

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