Turning Water Challenges into Solutions: California's Bold Step Towards Sustainable Living

Lisa Mailhot  |  December 20, 2023


Turning Water Challenges into Solutions: California's Bold Step Towards Sustainable Living


In a state where water is as precious as gold, California has taken a significant leap forward in addressing its water challenges. Recent developments have led to the approval of new regulations that could revolutionize the way we think about water usage. This blog post will delve into California's groundbreaking move to recycle wastewater and reintegrate it into the drinking water supply, exploring what it means for the state and potentially even Orange County.

A Thirsty State's Solution

For a state known for its picturesque landscapes, California has struggled to provide a reliable source of clean drinking water to its vast population of over 39 million residents. Over the years, it has faced multiple extreme droughts, with the most recent one being the driest three-year period on record. This crisis has left the state's reservoirs dangerously low, prompting officials to seek innovative solutions.

Jennifer West, managing director of WateReuse California, aptly sums up the situation: "Water is so precious in California. It is important that we use it more than once." This mindset has led to a growing movement in favor of recycled water.

From Ice Rinks to Kitchen Faucets

While California has utilized recycled wastewater for various purposes, such as making ice for hockey rinks or snow for ski resorts, it has never been directly integrated into the drinking water supply—until now. The new rules, approved by California regulators, empower water agencies to treat wastewater and return it directly to the drinking water system.

This groundbreaking change positions California as just the second state to adopt such a practice, following Colorado. However, it's essential to note that this approach comes with stringent requirements, including treating the wastewater for all pathogens and viruses, even if they aren't present. This level of treatment ensures that the water quality is on par with or even better than traditional drinking water.

A Path Forward for Sustainable Living

Implementing these wastewater recycling facilities is no small feat, both in terms of cost and time. Initially, it may only be feasible for larger, well-funded cities like San Diego, where officials are planning a water recycling program that could account for nearly half of the city's water by 2035.

Public support will be crucial for the success of these projects, as water agencies are required to inform customers about recycled water before its implementation. Initiatives like the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center in San Jose, open for public tours, aim to demonstrate the high-tech process behind ensuring clean water.

As climate change exacerbates drought conditions in California, these innovations provide a ray of hope. Kirsten Struve from the Santa Clara Valley Water District emphasizes the importance of drought-resistant water supplies, stating, "And with climate change, it will only get worse. And this represents a water source that can withstand drought conditions, a vital resource necessary to fulfill the future needs of our communities."


In the face of California's water challenges, the state's move toward recycled wastewater as a sustainable solution is inspiring. As a realtor with a passion for staying updated on the latest trends and developments, I believe that being aware of such transformative changes can significantly impact the real estate market.

If you're considering making Orange County your home, it's important to stay informed about these developments and how they might affect your future. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or if you're ready to explore the opportunities in Orange County. Let's connect, and together, we can navigate the evolving landscape of California real estate.


Reference: California is set to become 2nd state to OK rules for turning wastewater into drinking water - Published by Adam Beam | Associated Press | December 19, 2023.

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