Location: SCR 357
The Status of Reuse in Colorado
WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE
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10:04 AM -- The Status of Reuse in Colorado
Brenley McKenna, President, WateReuse Colorado, explained the mission of her organization is to promote water reuse and educate the public about the benefits of water reuse. She explained that water reuse involves capturing wastewater and treating it for another use (Attachment D). She explained that there are two types of reuse. Nonpotable reuse involves the treatment of wastewater for specific purposes other than drinking including industrial uses and irrigation. Potable reuse involves highly treating wastewater to augment a water supply that is used for drinking and all other purposes. Currently, 26 cities in Colorado use recycled water for nonpotable purposes including irrigation and commercial uses. She explained that reused water is less costly than new water supplies and it benefits the environment. Ms. McKenna responded to questions from the committee about water reuse regulations in Colorado and other states.
John Rehring, WaterReuse Colorado, Project Manager for Carollo Engineers, responded to questions from the committee about water reuse regulations. He explained that Regulation 84 allow reused water to be applied to non-food crops. The regulation defines "non food crops" as crops not meant for human consumption.
Eric Hecox, General Manager, Meridian Metropolitan District, explained that Colorado water law limits the types of water that may be reused to water that is introduced into a basin from transbasin diversions and nontributary groundwater. He explained how his district uses recycled water and discussed the possible use of aquifer storage and recovery by the district to store surplus recycled water. He also responded to questions from the committee regarding the district's wastewater system that is not allowed to discharge wastewater into streams or other water bodies.
Laura Belanger, Water Resources and Environmental Engineer, Western Resource Advocates, discussed Colorado's growing water demand and the potential for reuse to help address that demand. She also explained how the Colorado Water Plan addresses water reuse and discussed opportunities to increase reuse in Colorado. She explained that reused water is less costly than new water supplies, benefits the environment, and provides a reliable supply that is available throughout the year. The South Platte Basin Basin Implementation Plan identified 58,135 acre-feet of water that available for reuse in the basin. She identified funding to promote water reuse and responded to questions from the committee about the effect of water reuse on downstream users who may rely on reusable flows.
Mr. Rehring responded to questions from the committee about issues considered when developing Regulation 84 and Regulation 86. He explained that direct potable reuse (DPR) provides several benefits for water providers. For example, it provides a reliable water supply that is available year round and, unlike other forms of water reuse, it does not require dual distribution systems. He explained that WaterReuse Colorado has several goals to promote DPR in Colorado including the development of a clear regulatory framework, increasing public understanding and acceptance of DPR, and helping utilities identify DPR opportunities. He explained how DPR regulations will help increase public acceptance of DPR. He also explained that Big Spring Texas operates the only DPR project in the US. However, several DPR projects are being planned.
Mr. Rehring identified issues that should be addressed in a DPR regulation including definitions, pathogen control, monitoring and reporting requirements, facility operator certification, and education. He discussed the role of public outreach and education in increasing public acceptance of DPR. He also responded to questions from the committee about the EPA standards for water reuse and the potential cost for CDPHE to develop DPR regulations. He also discussed the authority of CDPHE to draft DPR regulations under current law.
Mark Marlowe, Town of Castle Rock Department of Water, discussed the town's water reuse program and explained that much of the city's water rights may be used to extinction because the water comes from nontributary aquifers and transbasin diversions. He also explained the town is interested in implementing a DPR project and discussed the benefits of DPR to the city including infrastructure savings.
Ms. Belanger responded to questions from the committee about the impact of water reuse on downstream water users. She discussed the nexus between energy use and water reuse. She also discussed water reuse opportunities related to oil and gas development and electric generation.