California Introduces Over A Dozen New Water Laws
By Sara Jerome
California is awash in new laws aimed at water issues.
This month, Governor Jerry Brown "signed more than a dozen bills aimed at improving access to water in the state, where drought is common and tension is high over the competing needs of residents, agriculture and the environment," Reuters reported.
These measures addressed the challenges small townships face when their groundwater gets polluted and concerns around recycling wastewater, among a slew of other issues.
Imperial Valley News offers a rundown of the legislative package. Some of the new laws are no-brainers, but other aspects faced push back. For instance, though Brown has worked to promote the use of recycled water, it is still an off-putting idea to many.
One of the bills requires the state to research ways to impose uniform standards to make wastewater drinkable.
"The so-called 'toilet-to-tap' proposal has been controversial wherever it has been implemented, even though the wastewater would undergo extensive cleansing," The LA Times reported.
“California needs more high-quality water and recycling is the key to getting there," Brown said, calling the research "past due."
Other parts of the measure sailed through the legislature. "The bills signed Tuesday chip away at individual problems bit by bit, many of them meeting little opposition," Reuters said.
"Water is a finite resource," Scott Shapiro, a Sacramento attorney whose clients include public water agencies, told the news service. "And it's either in the wrong place or it's in the wrong quality and existing regulations don't allow us to use it in the right way - and each of these laws is an attempt to address some of those limitations."
Patch broke down some of the state's water problems: "About 21 million people in California live in communities that rely on a contaminated groundwater source for drinking water. Of these, 2.1 million Californians are served by systems that have recently violated drinking water safety standards. California will need to invest approximately $40 billion over the next two decades to ensure safe drinking water throughout the state."
To read about transformative water projects in The Golden State, check out previous coverage from Water Online.
Image credit: "IMG_1771," © 2013 charliekjo, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en