Washington, D.C. — In honor of World Water Day, the US Water Alliance and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) jointly announced a commitment to accelerate the development of onsite water reuse projects across the country. Leaders from both organizations participated in the White House Water Summit, where more than 150 water commitments were announced — representing tremendous partnerships and investments focused on addressing America’s most pressing water challenges. 

“We are honored that the White House is featuring our commitment to help create a more sustainable water future in the United States,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. “San Francisco is a city well-known as an incubator of innovative policies and technology. On World Water Day, we are proud to partner with the US Water Alliance to take San Francisco’s work developing our onsite water reuse program as a model for other communities to implement their own water sustainability strategies.”

“Water scarcity is the new normal for many regions in America and we’re experiencing that reality first-hand in our drought-stricken state of California,” said Harlan Kelly, General Manager of the SFPUC. “Diversifying our water supplies and efficiently using every last drop of water will help us prepare for the growing effects of climate change and diminished water availability. From implementing onsite water reuse projects in our own headquarters and nearly 30 commercial buildings around San Francisco, we’re proving that a strong public-private partnership is a critical component of a comprehensive water management program.  We’re excited to work with the US Water Alliance on strengthening our nation’s water reliability.”

Radhika Fox, CEO of the US Water Alliance, said: “With water supplies increasingly strained, communities are looking for new ways to develop and manage local water resources. One of the most exciting paradigm shifts in sustainable water management is the integration of smaller, decentralized onsite systems that treat and reuse water within buildings. The Alliance is thrilled to be partnering with SFPUC — they are visionary local leaders. Through our partnership we hope to share their game-changing approach nationwide.”

Over the course of two years, the National Blue Ribbon Commission to Accelerate the Adoption of On-Site Water Reuse will develop and advance policy and regulatory recommendations that support implementation of on-site water reuse projects. While communities have begun to deploy onsite water programs to treat and reuse water for irrigation, toilet flushing, and cooling, scaling of these systems has been stymied due to a number of institutional and regulatory barriers. The Blue Ribbon Commission will provide actionable recommendations for consideration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and also foster state-level peer exchange and learning among water utilities and state public health agencies that are working to establish standards and practices for on-site water reuse.

The US Water Alliance will convene and staff the Blue Ribbon Commission, which will be co-chaired by the SFPUC and a leading public health agency. Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission — which will be composed of representatives from water utilities and public health agencies — will be announced at the US Water Alliance’s One Water Summit 2016 (http://uswateralliance.org/one-water/one-water-summit-2016), which will be held June 8-10, 2016, in Atlanta.