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🗳️ "California Urban Water 101"

Water Talk

Photo by freestocks / Unsplash

Hosts: Drs. Mallika Nocco, Faith Kearns & Sam Sandoval
Guest: Dr. Erik Porse | Researcher | Sacramento State University & UCLA Institute of the Environment
Category: 🗳️ Policy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[5:33] “The 21st century has […] been labeled the urbanized century. It was the first time that we crossed the threshold that the majority of humans across the planet are living in these more urbanized areas. […] But because of that, [cities] have a special importance […] in their role of promoting 21st century goals for sustainability, climate resilience, and adapting to the future that we hold. And so anything from resource constraints to rethinking how cities are created, transitioning to future technologies, [is] seen as this place of great hope and opportunity, but also a place where you have a lot of work to do. And I think that urban water is a really important component of that, because it's one of the lifeline critical infrastructures.”

[6:48] “Within urban water management, you have some core sectors that have been around for a long time, but are taken on again [with] renewed importance […] because of this growth. [First is] drinking water supply. So how we bring drinking water into cities and make sure it's treated. [Then] we have wastewater management. So wastewater is collected after we use water, it flows through the collection systems to the treatment plants, and then we treat it there to standards that we can discharge it into the environment, or increasingly try to reuse it in our cities […]. Stormwater management is the third sector and stormwater management […] takes in all the water that's falling during precipitation events and makes sure it doesn't flood our streets. […] And then finally, water is an integral part of recreational opportunities that are in cities and around cities. And so [keeping] watersheds and aquatic habitat and recreational opportunities for the folks who live in cities [is] important.”

[9:46] “The 21st century is about figuring out how to use the Clean Water Act effectively, but also transition to the new technological opportunities we have. And one of the big things we have to do for the 21st century [is] really a transition away from our past views that did not link up stormwater and wastewater, and water supply all effectively. And that's what's broadly termed […] the one water movement within cities. We want to think about how to manage these things all holistically. […] It's very important, but we haven't quite figured out how to do it yet. And so that's really the challenge moving forward for the 21st century.”

[25:02] “A lot of places throughout Southern California, [like] Orange County [have] been investing in alternative sources for a long time. The Orange County Water District […] is a fantastic example of […] early investments in recycled water for groundwater recharge and what they call indirect potable reuse.”

[25:39] “Another thing that Los Angeles in particular did or especially did invest in is large scale stormwater capture facilities. So over the past […] decades Los Angeles has captured on average about 200,000 acre feet annually, […] called stormwater capture. And this serves to recharge the groundwater basins that are underneath, which serve as a key water supply, one of the original water supplies for that region.”

[30:05] “There's a pilot plant that links the Metropolitan Water District with the LA County Sanitation District. LA County Sanitation District runs an enormous wastewater treatment plant that's […] downstream […] and they have been working with Metropolitan to implement large scale plants for reuse that would essentially move water up through the basin and introduce recycled water for indirect uses. And at some point in the future, when [it] is available as an option from a regulatory standpoint, [we will] be able to use it for direct potable reuse. It's a really fascinating example of how institutions will evolve.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 45 min | 🗓️ 04/30/2021
✅ Time saved: 43 min

Additional Links:
Orange County Water District: Water reuse