In efforts to conserve San Francisco drinking water, which is supplied by the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, officials are calling for increased reuse of non-potable water. (Courtesy California Department of Water Resources)

In efforts to conserve San Francisco drinking water, which is supplied by the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, officials are calling for increased reuse of non-potable water. (Courtesy California Department of Water Resources)

Supes boost water reuse requirements for new buildings

‘Recycling will be increasingly necessary for our survival’

New buildings will need to collect and reuse much more water than what is required for existing buildings, after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved new regulations Tuesday.

The ordinance more than doubles the amount of water that new large buildings will be required to collect and reuse on site, said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, its author. He said it also directs the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to come up with a plan for expanding The City’s supply and use of recycled water.

“This summer of intense drought and terrible wildfires reminds us that the climate crisis is now, and it is not going away on its own,” he said. “We must dramatically and quickly reduce carbon emissions, but even as we pursue zero carbon emissions goals for our city and our world, water reuse and recycling will be increasingly necessary for our survival.”

The ordinance was endorsed by a union official, Larry Mazzola Jr., business manager of United Association Local 38 Plumbers and Pipefitters, according to a news release issued by Mandelman’s office.

“The reuse of water from on-site treated graywater systems for toilets and other non-potable uses are a proven way to reduce demand for potable water as California faces the threat of persistent water shortages,” Mazzola said. “This ordinance is a step in the right direction and will have a significant positive impact on jobs for our skilled and trained workforce to provide sustainable work opportunities moving forward.”

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