In California, the notion of Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) has been in discussion for years. As continued drought and scarce supplies force policy makers to develop options, the strategy of DPR may in fact soon become a reality.
While all water is eventually reused, it is first released as treated wastewater into groundwater or surface water; which acts as an environmental buffer prior to being pumped out, treated, and used for potable water supplies. Many regulators in California and other states are beginning to question the value of this environmental buffer. If it were to be removed, reclaimed water could be sent directly into the drinking water system.
In order to expedite the regulatory process, the state of California established two panels to report on the criteria needed to build California’s first advanced DPR facility. An expert panel, primarily made up of academics and scientists, are working with another advisory panel composed of water agency, business, and environmental leaders. The goal? Focus on the science, operations, certification, and public outreach that is necessary to apply DPR on a state level. 
As of now, both committees agree that DPR is not only feasible, it is an opportunity to create a more sustainable future for the state. “Making advanced treated water available for direct potable reuse opens the opportunity to purify water for all communities in California – which is what we need,” said Orange County Coastkeeper Executive Director and Chair of the Direct Potable Reuse Advisory Panel, Garry Brown, in a news release on Orange County Breeze. 
The same release stated the panels have committed to developing a plan for California to lead by example with DPR. “The scientific findings in this report confirm what we have long been telling our decision makers – California is ready to lead the nation in creating advanced treated water,” said California Coastkeeper Policy Director Sean Bothwell. “This will be a modern, drought-resilient water supply alternative to costly ocean desalination and imported water.”
With the final report expected by the end of 2016, California may soon be pioneering the way for DPR throughout the country and establishing a sustainable source of potable water for generations to come.
Published October 27, 2016 Weiser, Matt. Wastewater: A New Frontier for Water Recycling. Water Deeply, September 20, 2016. Web. https://www.newsdeeply.com/water/articles/2016/09/20/wastewater-a-new-frontier-for-water-recycling  Orange County Coastkeeper. New report finds water recycling regulations feasible for direct potable reuse. Orange County Breeze, October 4, 2016. Web. http://www.oc-breeze.com/2016/10/04/91270_new-report-finds-water-recycling-regulations-feasible-for-direct-potable-reuse/