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In 2015, Xylem conducted a survey within California to study how public perception is geared toward recycled, purified, and reclaimed water. In 2017, the survey was expanded to include the general understanding of the technology used in the recycling process and the perception revolving around the ability to effectively clean and treat the water. These surveys were conducted as California was in the middle of a drought and as drought conditions eased. The results from these surveys showed that there is a majority of residents that support the use of recycled water to help bolster the water supply and help withstand future droughts that are sure to come.

From the survey it was found that three fourths of Californians are in support of adding recycled water to local supplies, and nearly 90 percent would use recycled water in their daily lives. Another finding was that respondents were more likely to support the implementation and use of recycled water in their daily lives if reduced costs and rebates were given to those who opted to receive it. Stemming from the additional 2017 survey, around 75 percent of Californians fully trusted the treatment process of recycled water after being educated about the processes and technology behind it. Within the City of Los Angeles, LA Sanitation is spreading the word that recycled water is safe and it is coming. With over 88 million gallons per day of recycled water produced currently the city is on track to reach its goal of reducing imported water and using 50% locally sourced water by the year 2035. This will be fully achievable through the use of recycled water.

Support continues to grow for the goal of sustainability and utilizing recycled and locally sourced water. Water and wastewater utilities have the responsibility to ensure that globally there is access to clean and safe drinking water for all. LA Sanitation, back by the City of Los Angeles, is on track and leading the way to securing that sustainable source of water for current residents and future generations to come.

Michael Simpson
Public Works LA
Principal Environmental Engineer