Opinion: The Abundance Choice, Part 10: Time to Stop Wasting Wastewater

If there is any source of water that ought to be optimized, it is the wastewater produced by California’s urban centers. Perennially issuing from sewage treatment plants throughout the state, every year this torrent of mostly treated effluent is equivalent in volume to the San Joaquin River in a wet year.

The California Department of Water Resources estimates statewide urban water consumption at approximately seven million acre feet per year. Just over three million of that total is estimated to be so-called “interior” water use, which means this water is flushed or drained through sewer systems into a wastewater treatment plant.