Ordinance will require onsite water reuse systems in large developments in certain areas of the city and require all developments throughout the city to go through a water reuse analysis with the Public Utilities Commission. The ordinance also will set city policy that all irrigation and cleaning of public spaces should be done with non-drinking water within the next 5 years
San Francisco – Today, Supervisor Scott Wiener will introduce legislation to require onsite water reuse systems – for example, graywater and storm water recapture systems – in new developments and to push city departments to use non-potable water for all cleaning and irrigation of public spaces within the next 5 years. Increasing the use of non-potable water will decrease the use of Hetch Hetchy drinking water for irrigation and toilet flushing.
“California’s water shortage isn’t a temporary problem but rather a long-term structural challenge. We must take aggressive policy actions to conserve water,” said Supervisor Wiener. “We need to conserve water, and we also make the most of the water we have, by reusing it. As we build more housing and office space, critical to the future of our city, we need to do so in a sustainable way that recognizes the impacts we have every day on our environment. Using our drinking water to flush our toilets and irrigate landscaping is a complete waste of a precious resource. We can and must do more to conserve water.”
“Climate scientists are saying that California needs to fundamentally change the way it uses water,” said John Rizzo, Political Chair of the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter. “Supervisor Wiener's legislation is a common-sense approach to reusing and saving water.”
The legislation will require new large developments of 250,000 or more square feet located within the city’s “purple pipe” reclaimed water zone to install onsite water reuse systems for non-potable uses like toilet flushing and irrigation, while also requiring all developments citywide 40,000 square feet and above to go through an onsite water reuse analysis by the PUC. These systems include capturing greywater from sinks and laundries, rainwater, and foundation water. A map of the reclaimed water zone can be seen at the Public Utilities Commission website here.
The legislation will also make it city policy that within the next 5 years, city departments use only non-potable water for irrigation and cleaning of public spaces, like streets, parks, plazas and medians. City departments must report back within a year on the feasibility and needs required of implementing these policies, including budget costs.
Finally, the legislation requests the Public Utilities Commission to report back within a year on the feasibility of retrofitting existing buildings for onsite water reuse systems, so the Board of Supervisors can consider policies to further onsite water reuse implantation in existing buildings.