What if we could make better use of our water in Boise? To prepare our community for challenges like drought, climate change and growth, the city is working on a plan to recycle some of the water that we use in our community.
Why Recycle Water?
It’s no secret that drought is becoming more alarming every day. Across the west, news stories cover severe drought conditions. All the water that we use, nearly 30 million gallons a day is cleaned and then sent away and out of our community. We’re producing a precious resource every single day, clean water, only to see it leave. Most of the water that we use in Boise comes from our groundwater aquifer. As growth and climate change continue to put pressure on our community’s water supply, we are looking at opportunities to make better use of the water that we use in our city.
Learn more about the impacts that climate change will have on our community.
What is Recycled Water?
Recycling water is what it sounds like- once water is used, we clean it, and use it again. Currently, the water that we collect every day from homes and businesses gets cleaned and put into the Boise River to flow downstream and out of our city. Our recycled water program proposes to take the water that we get from specific sources, like businesses or industry, clean it, and send it back to be used again. We are also exploring options to put the clean water into our groundwater aquifers to be stored for future.
National Water Research Institute
City of Boise contracted with National Water Research Institute (NWRI) to form an Independent Advisory Panel to review documents and meet with city representatives to give feedback on the proposed Recycled Water Program.
The NWRI Independent Advisory Panel review is intended to provide expert consensus opinions on scientific, technical, and policy advice on the most challenging issues that arise as the Recycled Water Program is developed and implemented.
On September 9th, 2021, the City’s Project Team presented information about the project to the Panel and asked the Panel to respond to questions on topics ranging from community engagement to regulation and test planning. The following is a summary of their recommendations.
- Identify and expand the pool of stakeholders and bring them into the planning process early.
- Build messaging that clearly and precisely conveys the project purpose and goals to those stakeholders.
- Continue engagement and messaging through all phases of the project, including during ongoing operations in the future.
- Measure outreach results.
- Developing and leveraging local expertise is a best practice in successful water recycling projects. The panel recommends the City develop a community engagement team that can explain the project to stakeholders.
- The panel recommends that the City engage local regulators throughout the project to facilitate future regulatory changes.
- The panel recommends that the City collaborate with stakeholders to identify their concerns. A successful plan will likely involve an expansive collaborative approach to this element of the project.
- The City should consider developing a source water quality plan that encompasses a wide range of sampling sites and contaminants. As additional data is collected, the City can modify the testing and inspection program.
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