While recycled water cannot be used for human or animal consumption, it can be used for a variety of other purposes, including cleaning and irrigation.
“Recycled water becomes very critical,” Steiger said. “It allows us to reuse water that we have already cycled through our system. It will go a long way to helping us meet a long-term reduction.”
But expansion of the city’s recycled water infrastructure in recent years has been hampered by city codes, officials said. Any expansion of the city’s 21 miles of recycled water pipeline must be paid for entirely by the customer.
Despite the current 25% discount for recycled water, the cost of building the pipeline has kept prospective users from moving forward, officials said.
“I think that’s really the bottom line,” Pat Hayes, the utility’s principal engineer, told the Glendale Water & Power Commission in May.
“No one has decided it’s worth their effort to proceed on an individual customer basis.”
The City Council will consider amending the city code so that additional funding options — including municipal bonds — could be used to finance new recycled-water infrastructure.
Glendale joins utilities across the state in its efforts to increase the use of local and recycled-water supplies as wholesale rates continue to spike amid the ongoing water crisis.
Nearby Foothill Municipal Water District recently released a $63-million plan — the bulk of which would fund new recycled water infrastructure.
Steiger stressed the importance of determining a way to fund the proposed system improvements, which he said in the long run would protect customers from the volatile nature of imported water rates.
“It’s really critical because we continue to have water-shortage issues. Most of our water comes from Northern California or the Colorado River, and both of those areas are restricted,” Steiger said.
“We have to start thinking in terms of a much, much more efficient way of using water.”