News from the Capitol – 8.20.2009
Planning and Conservation League
REAL DROUGHT RELIEF:
STATE GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO GRAYWATER;
NEW STANDARDS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
Responding to the increasing pressures on our state’s water supplies, last month the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) approved new standards that facilitate the use of graywater in homes and voted to make the standards effective on August 4th, 2009 rather than waiting until 2011.
The new standards will make it much easier to reuse water from bathtubs, showers, sinks, and washing machines for outdoor irrigation while protecting local water quality and public health.
Landscape designer Bernadette Balics applauds the move. "My clients have always been interested in using graywater systems for irrigation, but were wary about negotiating the permitting uncertainties. The new standards make it easier for homeowners to reuse their graywater simply, safely, and legally."
Graywater provides a cost-effective and reliable source of water that can be implemented quickly and helps guard against water shortages in future drought years.
While the new standards are a great leap forward, they don’t yet tap the full potential for graywater. Clean Water Action’s Jennifer Clary notes that "the big missing piece is indoor reuse, specifically hooking systems up for toilet flushing or laundry." While using graywater for irrigation serves only seasonal demands in many parts of the state, expanding the standards to include indoor uses of graywater would provide year-round water savings across California.