US Water Alliance, WE&RF launch commission for non-potable water systems

The US Water Alliance and Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) launched a National Blue Ribbon Commission for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems. Thirty representatives from municipalities, public health agencies, water utilities, and national organizations will serve on the commission. wwtp

As water supplies become more strained, climate change persists and populations grow, communities are looking for new ways to develop and manage local water supplies and increase the resiliency of water infrastructure. Onsite water systems collect and treat wastewater, stormwater, rainwater and more so that it can be reused in a building, or at the local scale for non-potable needs such as irrigation, toilet flushing and cooling. These systems are usually integrated into the city’s larger water and wastewater system and contribute to more resilient and sustainable water management by using alternate water sources, reducing valuable potable water used for non-potable purposes, and minimizing strain on wastewater systems.

Despite the broad range of benefits, adoption of onsite non-potable systems has been constrained by policy and regulatory barriers. Over the next two years, the National Blue Ribbon Commission will develop model state and federal guidelines based on best practices underway in local communities and world-class research in order to support local implementation of onsite non-potable water systems. The commission will also identify new opportunities for water utilities to facilitate implementation of onsite non-potable systems.

“For the past four years, many of the commissioners have worked together to support the development of innovative onsite water programs. The commissioners representing public health agencies and water utilities are excited to move these solutions forward by translating technical standards into policy recommendations that state and federal officials can support,” said Paula Kehoe, director of water resources at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and chair of the National Blue Ribbon Commission.

“Systems that treat and reuse water within buildings for irrigation, toilet flushing, and cooling, are an innovative tool for managing water resources. But policy and regulatory barriers have prevented broader adoption by local municipalities. The US Water Alliance is proud to work with public health and water utility leaders to find solutions to these challenges,” said Radhika Fox, CEO of the US Water Alliance.

As the commission conducts their work on policy frameworks and emerging business models, they will also identify new research opportunities for the field. “This is a new frontier for the water industry. The development and deployment of onsite water systems for non-potable purposes emerged from utility-driven research for solutions to better manage valuable water supplies. WE&RF is excited to continue to our work to make emerging research more impactful,” said Melissa Meeker, CEO of the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation.

The 30 commissioners from municipalities, public health agencies, water utilities, and national organizations commenced their work in San Francisco this week. Representatives who will be serving on the commission for the next two years include:

  • Chair: Paula Kehoe, San Francisco Public Utilities
  • Scott Abbott, County of Los Angeles Public Health
  • Anita Anderson, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Julienne Bautista, District of Colombia Department of Energy & Environment
  • Brian Bernados, California State Water Resources Control Board
  • Brian Davis, Metropolitan Council of Environmental Services
  • Stephen Deem, Washington State Department of Health
  • Ron Doughten, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
  • Jon Eaton, City of Eagan, Minnesota
  • Jessica Edwards-Brandt, DC Water
  • Mamdouh El-Aarag, Washington State Department of Health
  • Jay Garland, US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Bertha Goldenberg, Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department
  • Brian Good, Denver Water
  • Charles Graf, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
  • Bret Icenogle, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Mark Jaeger, Seattle Public Utilities
  • Vlada Kenniff, New York City Department of Environmental Protection
  • Sina Pruder, Hawaii State Department of Public Health – Wastewater Branch
  • Melinda Rho, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
  • Genevieve Salmonson, Hawaii State Department of Public Health
  • Neal Shapiro, City of Santa Monica, California
  • Robert Stefani, Austin Water Utility
  • Wing Tam, LA Sanitation, City of Los Angeles
  • Jacqueline Taylor, County of Los Angeles Public Health
  • Barry Usagawa, Honolulu Board of Water Supply
  • Chris Wanner, Portland Water Bureau
  • June Weintraub, San Francisco Department of Public Health
  • Radhika Fox, US Water Alliance – National Partner
  • Melissa Meeker, Water Environment & Reuse Foundation – National Partner

For more information about the work of the National Blue Ribbon Commission on Onsite Non-potable Water Systems please visit:

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