How CA is Learning to Love Recycled Water

The website Water Deeply delves into the history and psychology of water reuse in a new article entitled “How California is Learning to Love Drinking Recycled Water.”

While early attempts to fund water reuse infrastructure through the initiative process were mostly unsuccessful, public attitudes eventually warmed through methodical public education efforts and polling.

“What we learned from (polling) is with enough information and education you can change people’s understanding and perception,” said Marta Lugo, a public information representative of Santa Clara Valley Water District.

As pilot facilities sprang up around the state, tours and tastings helped further public acceptance. For example, when visitors witnessed other people tasting the water, they were more likely to also try it, and the behavior of drinking purified water became “normalized” in that manner.

Next year, the California legislature is expected to address regulations for direct potable reuse. That is expected to help cement the common notion of wastewater as part of the water supply. 

Jonathan Heller