Since agriculture in our region depends largely on imported water, I have long supported initiatives to increase local supplies, including the use of recycled water.
As many of you know, as a member of the Escondido City Council, I was an early supporter of a plan to use treated wastewater to irrigate citrus and avocado groves on the city’s outskirts.
This year I introduced Assembly Bill 2438 to help speed construction of recycled water pipelines along existing rights-of-way by streamlining costly, time consuming regulations that have delayed or prevented these projects statewide.
AB 2438, which passed the Natural Resources Committee on April 11, is co-authored by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks).
Water recycling has the greatest potential to provide much-needed new water resources for communities throughout California.
The public and private sector, including agriculture, would benefit greatly from the availability of more reclaimed water. As an added benefit, AB 2438 will help California to meet its recycled water goal of an additional one million acre-feet by 2020.
AB 2438 will alleviate bureaucratic roadblocks many communities face when attempting to build recycled water pipelines alongside existing pipelines, usually located on paved roadways or other public rights-of-way.
The bill will allow the Office of Planning and Research and the local county clerk to prepare a negative declaration, mitigated declaration or EIR as needed, in many cases eliminating or streamlining stringent environmental regulations for projects in urbanized areas.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to California’s water-supply problems, development of local water resources should be encouraged.
Going forward, passage of AB 2438 will make reclaimed water a major component in California’s long-term water solution.