College - Author 1
College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Department - Author 1
City and Regional Planning Department
Degree Name - Author 1
BS in City and Regional Planning
Dave Amos, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, City and Regional Planning Department
The western United States is experiencing increasing population, a housing shortage, and a drought. These challenges demand creative and unprecedented changes to development. Water recycling is slowly emerging as a viable solution for developers, home owners, and cities as a way to continue much-needed housing development while mitigating unnecessary water depletion. With all change, policy, feasibility, and awareness can be the largest influencers. Drought-ridden western-American states require additional and revised regulatory requirements to promote recycled water in new development. Currently, water reuse is largely used for agricultural and industrial purposes. To motivate and encourage housing development, water recycling needs to be incorporated into single family and multi-family uses with an increase in non-potable, residential recycled water use and potable residential recycled water use. Water boards and commissions, on their own, lack the means to implement proposed strategies. The land development process—including planning commissions, permit requirements, and zoning regulations—lack the creativity and urgency to implement water recycling into residential developments. Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado water planning and land use planning departments need unification on the topic of water recycling to overcome two of the largest crises that developing and existing communities are experiencing: a lack of water and a lack of housing. Research drivers include the need to address, “additional or revised regulatory requirements and their application to recycled water end uses.” (Water reuse. org) The following report examines the feasibility of an increase in water reuse for residential water recycling in California. Several communities in the United States West have begun to use water recycling in this way (e.g., San Diego, Ventura County, Orange County, and Folsom) but its widespread use and revised regulation can help the U.S. West solve two critical issues: the housing crisis and water shortages due to prolonged droughts.