Meeting Date:

September 22, 2008





Darby Fuerst




General Manager

Line Item No.:




Prepared by:

Director Doyle and

Stephanie Pintar

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Review:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


SUMMARY:  One of the District’s legislated functions is to promote water reuse and reclamation of storm and wastewater.  The District has successfully addressed the reuse of wastewater; however, other parts of this legislated function have not been pursued to date.  Director Doyle has requested that the Board initiate action to facilitate and promote (1) the use of greywater[1] inside and outside of buildings, (2) the capture and use of rainwater[2] on a site, and (3) facilitate stormwater[3] runoff reuse programs.  These elements of water collection and reuse are potential key water supply sources for the Monterey Peninsula. 


Director Doyle proposes that the District explore this alternative water supply in parallel with the MPWMD 95-10 Desalination Project, applying similar urgency and effort in regards to Board and staff support, staff and consultant time, citizen, local government and agency participation, expert technical review, and funding.  It is recognized that many of the proposed conservation measures, such as the reuse of greywater, will require changes to existing regulations and practices.  Director Doyle suggests formation of a new ad hoc committee comprised of Directors, staff, members of the public appointed by Directors, and representatives of pertinent agencies with a charge to investigate the feasibility of these conservation measures and to report their preliminary findings to the Board.  Director Doyle’s goal is to initiate action that would eventually result in a realistic study to determine the potential water savings that can be realized in the District through water reuse and rainwater catchment systems.


The concepts outlined in this item were presented to the Technical Advisory Committee on September 18, 2008 for review.  Members were informed of Director Doyle’s request and discussed how changes to existing city and county regulations regarding establishment of greywater, rainwater, and recycled water systems can be coordinated.  Preparation of this staff report occurred prior to that meeting, and a summary will be included during the presentation of this item.


DISCUSSION:  The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s mission includes augmenting the water supply and promoting water conservation. Catchment, storage, and reuse of greywater, rainwater and stormwater may have the potential to fulfill both mandates. Water recycling and reuse on a wide scale may provide a heretofore untapped supply to lessen the negative impacts of required cutbacks, while simultaneously protecting existing water sources and instituting water efficiencies anticipated to become the standard in California and elsewhere.


The District is in a key position to take the lead in bringing about new local regulatory standards that both promote and accelerate water recycling and reuse at household, business, community and city levels.  It is appropriate that the District take this leadership role in water conservation because it is:


  • The responsible agency for developing new water supplies, promoting water conservation, managing ground and surface water and promoting reuse and recycling of storm water and wastewater; and for water distribution regulation and permitting.


  • A key working partner with California American Water, Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency, the Seaside Watermaster, Carmel Area Wastewater District, the local jurisdictions, and other agencies.


  • Experienced in accomplishing large-scale, long-term water conservation projects such as: Pebble Beach golf course water recycling, the retrofit upon resale program, Aquifer Storage and Recovery, the joint MPWMD/California American Water rebate program, etc.


  • Experienced in working with regulatory agencies to implement water conservation programs.


The 2003 report, Waste Not, Want Not: The Potential for Urban Water Conservation in California”[4] (WNWN) suggests that “California can save 30% of its current urban water use with cost-effective water-saving solutions …” and goes on to say that it may be possible to “… eliminate the need for new urban water supplies for the next three decades.”   The WNWN report suggests that schools in the District could save up to 44%, hotels could save between 9% and 11%, and the average home has the potential of saving 40% on indoor use and up to 100% outdoors (when factoring in the use of greywater and rainwater to substitute for potable water).  The water savings associated with large-scale greywater and stormwater reuse and rainwater catchment systems appears significant enough to merit further research, particularly at this time when the District faces potential regulatory reductions in water supply.


As the WNWN report suggests, “There are barriers to capturing all conservation potential, but these barriers can be overcome.”  Using intelligent planning, policies, technologies, financing mechanisms, and public outreach in moving forward such an initiative can mitigate existing obstacles. The largest obstacles to implementation of water reuse and rainwater catchment and use within the District are anticipated to be:


  • Local, regional and state codes and regulations.


  • Limited available information and expertise (literature, online matter on health and safety, construction, water savings, costs, etc.).


  • Lack of incentives (rebates, grants, demonstrations, etc.).


While these are certainly legitimate obstacles, they are not insurmountable. Accurate fact finding and research can be used in conjunction with focused negotiation to bring about changes in laws, ordinances, and other legal restrictions while continuing to preserve health and human safety. Considerable efforts will need to be made towards education, information and communication.  MPWMD is in a unique place to undertake these efforts: Many individuals, businesses, groups and agencies are interested in supporting reuse and rainwater use and only need encouragement, opportunity, and assistance to do so.


RECOMMENDATION:  Director Doyle recommends that the District establish an ad hoc committee, separate from Water Demand and Public Outreach.  The committee makeup should include District Board members and staff, members of the public appointed by Directors, and representatives of pertinent agencies.  The initial tasks for this ad hoc committee would be:


  • “Brainstorm” negative and positive local water recycling and reuse issues.


  • Undertake a rapid review of current literature and existing data specific to the District regarding greywater, rainwater and stormwater; including lessons learned by other cities/households/water districts, what has been successful across the nation and in California, and how it applies to the District’s situation.


  • Identify knowledge gaps, obstacles, and opportunities including: rebates for cisterns, downspouts, gutters, pipes, pumps, etc.; jurisdictional cooperation to "fast track" or waive/discount permits and change codes, etc.; find grants; develop pilot project/sponsorship from cities, state or businesses (garden shops, landscapers, builders, etc.).


  • Identify key players (i.e., District staff, consultants, local/state/federal government agencies, private enterprise, non-profit groups, university and other research agencies, local/state/federal government, etc.) who should be involved from the start.


  • Identify how key players (discussed in previous bullet) would contribute to the effort.


  • Prepare a plan and report to the Board as to how the District can take the lead in accelerating this alternative water source.


If approved and a committee is appointed, the committee should be tasked with reporting back to the Board within six months.


IMPACT ON STAFF/RESOURCES:  The initial effort outlined in this staff report would involve time by the General Manager and Water Demand Division staff, as well as support services.  Follow-up efforts, such as working with outside agencies to bring about changes to regulations and policies will require additional efforts that may require additional staff.  As these subject areas have not been extensively researched for current District programs, outside consultants may be needed to provide expertise.  There is presently no funding in the budget for additional staff/consultant assistance on these topics. 



12-A                Waste Not, Want Not: The Potential for Urban Water Conservation in California, Executive Summary, Pacific Institute, November 2003.




[1] “Greywater” is non-industrial “waste” water from dish washing, laundry and bathing, named for its cloudy appearance and from its status as being neither fresh (“white water” from groundwater or potable water), nor containing significant food residues or high concentrations of toxic chemicals from household cleaners etc. (“dark grey water,” usually from kitchen sinks), nor heavily polluted (“blackwater” from toilets).

[2] “Rainwater” is water caught from rooftops.

[3] “Stormwater” is water that runs off roads, sidewalks and lawns.

[4] 16-page summary of this document is provided as Exhibit 12-A.  The full report can be found at .