Arizona panel makes water-reuse recommendations

More than 60 recommendations including many on wastewater reuse have been forwarded to the governor of the US state of Arizona by a “Blue Ribbon” panel formed by the governor, Jan Brewer, in 2009.

In its final report, dated 30 November 2010, the 40-member Blue Ribbon Panel on Water Sustainability examined the current technical, legal and policy issues surrounding the promotion of water conservation and recycling in the state.

The panel came up with 18 sets of recommendations, divided into 63 sub- recommendations on public perception, public education, research needs, regulatory impediments, efficient use of water supplies, expanded use of rainwater and stormwater, the interface between water and energy, funding and incentives, and more.

Among the recommendations are:

  • Creation of a state-hosted information portal on water pricing, supply, quality, management, conservation and efficiency programs, plus forums, email groups etc.
  • Encouraging private and public water and/or wastewater agencies to evaluate their capability to implement a reuse program within the next two years;
  • Compiling a matrix of state, regional and local specifications and standards to develop a suite of standards that would provide a common foundation of safety and good engineering practices for reclaimed water distribution systems.
  • Creation of an advisory panel to focus on the effectiveness and implementation of new technologies and field studies.
  • Develop an operator training program and certification.
  • Form a coalition with California, Texas, Colorado and Florida, plus the WateReuse Association, Environmental Protection Agency and other bodies to develop a strategic research plan to answer questions on reuse.
  • Support regional and national research into innovative and groundbreaking products that would increase water-use efficiency for all users and energy inputs.
  • Encourage the use of alternative water supplies.
  • Although this report now moves forward to the governor and the legislature, the panel warns that budget cuts may make it difficult for the relevant agencies to implement its recommendations.