San Diego Region - State Recycled Water Policy Implementation


California's State Water Resources Control Board adopted a statewide "Recycled Water Policy" on February 3, 2009, to establish uniform requirements for the use of recycled water. As part of this effort, the Policy requires the development of salt and nutrient management plans to: (1) assess water quality, and salt and nutrient loads within each groundwater basin, and (2) identify and evaluate strategies for achieving compliance with Basin Plan water quality objectives and protecting beneficial uses. State Board Executive Director Dorothy Rice sent Regional Board staff a memo regarding the "Role of Regional Water Boards in Implementation of Recycled Water Policy". Regional Board staff participated in the October 6 Salinity Management Plan Implementation Workshop initiating the stakeholder process. The Workshop was jointly sponsored by the Regional Board, San Diego County Water Authority and Southern California Salinity Coalition. Approximately 65 attendees were presented with the background of the Recycled Water Policy, historical efforts to develop plans in the San Diego Region, lesson learned from the Santa Ana watershed efforts, and the benefits of a stakeholder driven process. Stakeholders were invited to discuss the benefits of a collaborative planning process, approaches for supporting the regional planning process, and follow-up actions to refine the approach.

What is happening now?

Attendees expressed their desire to attain "regulatory certainty" in order to commit funding for expanding recycled water projects. The stakeholders reached a general consensus on several parts of the approach. There is interest in a Regional approach addressing broad issues, rather than per watershed, such as defining key terms, and compliance for iron and manganese in particular. There is interest in developing general guidelines for the planning process that would be lead by the Workshop sponsors. There is interest in pursuing Regional funding for the planning process, such as through the Integrated Regional Watershed Management Plan. Stakeholders arranged work groups to follow-up on these consensus issues.

What happens next?

The Regional Board will continue to work with stakeholders throughout the process. Regional Board staff will assist stakeholders in developing consistent guidelines for the planning process, and review work plans and monitoring plans. The State Board will provide by November 2009 an online tool to track the progress of Salt/Nutrient Management Planning and an outline of the minimum elements necessary for basin plan amendments to assist the Regional Board.

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