Utah Tackles Water Shortage with Plan To Reuse 'Gray Water' for Irrigation

Nov. 2, 2004

Responding to five years of an ongoing drought and a rapidly growing population, the Utah Water Quality Board recently adopted a rule allowing the use of "gray water" for subsurface irrigation.

Gray water includes water from bathtubs, showers, bathroom sinks, and washing machines, but not water from toilets, kitchen sinks, dishwashers, photo lab sinks, or garage-floor drains, according to a press statement issued by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Under the new rule, gray water can be used only for subsurface irrigation of nonedible landscape plants, the statement said.

Residents opting to reuse gray water under the rule must obtain permission from the local health department and install a recycling system, which can cost between $4,000 and $10,000, the statement noted.

By 2050, Utah will need 125 billion gal of additional water supply, according to the statement.

Source: Utah Department of Environmental Quality

Image courtesy Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ).
All images courtesy of Ecosorb.