NEWS NOTES ON SUSTAINABLE WATER RESOURCES  Western Cities Water Supply Challenges  https://www.usmayors.org/2017/05/08/extraordinary-m...

NEWS NOTES ON SUSTAINABLE WATER RESOURCES  Western Cities Water Supply Challenges  https://www.usmayors.org/2017/05/08/extraordinary-measures-taken-to-diversify-sustainable-water-supplies-in-western-cities/ ; Amid the concerns over drought, California local governments generally have a positive story to tell about investment in public water and sewer; and that is important because it affects the daily lives of some 38 to 39 million state residents, local commercial and industrial businesses, and public institutions. It is a barometer of California’s local government commitment to ensuring safe drinking water and protecting and improving water quality. Local governments in California invested $10.9 billion in 2000 and doubled that investment to $21.5 billion by 2013. The current Census estimate for 2014 is $22.1 billion- another increase of 2.56% when the national average for year over year growth in American cities was 2.2%.  Safe drinking water and protection of water quality are costly activities for local government, and strong local balance sheets and resources are a pre-requisite for investment. Here too, like investment in water and sewer, California local government finances tell a positive story. Total local government revenues and own-source revenue (property, income and sales tax; and fees and charges for services) have doubled from 2000 to 2014 while population has increased roughly 15%. Public water and sewer are financed with a combination of debt and ‘fee for services’ revenues from customers (households/rate payers). Fees for water and sewer services are usually a component of own source revenue. The latest local government Census data in California indicates that own source revenue increased 88% from 2000 to 2014, and local investment in public water and sewer has risen along with and above the national average at 102%. Additionally, the ratio of long-term debt is flat or slightly declining: the ratio of long-term debt to own source revenue was 1.7 in 2000, 2.06 in 2013 and 2.03 in 2014.  The water supply component of annual investment, double that of sewer investment, is spread over the state in cities from north to south, but transfers of water north to south, and reliance on traditional supplies has proven to be risky in the last and very recent drought. Cities introduce resiliency by diversifying water supply sources. Interestingly, treated wastewater discharges often leave the city on the downstream flow of a river, but now cities are eyeing that flow as a possible new source. Similarly, storm waters usually run off into lakes, streams, and oceans; but now cities see that runoff as a new source of supply. Water recycling for both potable and non-potable uses are becoming common practices. Mayors and national experts participating in the Santa Barbara conference discussed a variety of city and regional projects they are investing heavily in, and the information is emerging on the cost of these various diversification options compared to traditional single-source treatment costs. The experts caution, however, that proliferation of recycling and reuse will likely face federal regulatory impediments with the lack of policy, rules or guidance.A variety of local solution sets and practices were discussed and outlined in the linked article.This article will also be linked on the 2017 Actions and Activities Page of the Sustainable Water Resources Site at https://sites.google.com/site/sustainablewaterresources/ ; Tim SmithSustainable Water Resources CoordinatorGovernment Web Site, https://acwi.gov/Sustainable Water Resources Site, https://sites.google.com/site/sustainablewaterresources ;