Assemblyman Mike GattoSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — According to Assemblyman Mike Gatto, most homeowners want cheaper water bills. If provided the infrastructure, they’d gladly use recycled water to wash cars and irrigate lawns. Many cities have vast reservoirs of recycled water. If provided a market, they’d gladly allow the water to be used for more than just landscaping medians.

Drought-scorched California moved one step closer to a sensible marriage of these interests, as the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee passed AB 2282 by a vote of 7-0. The ground-breaking legislation by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), would require the state to adopt building standards for recycled water in newly constructed commercial and residential buildings, helping California integrate recycled water, and 21st-century technology, into its water-supply portfolio for the future.

California is in the middle of a disastrous drought. For the first time in history, water exports to Central Valley farms and Southern California homes have fallen to zero. Crops are dying, cities are running out of drinking water, and streams are running dry.

“This drought is a stark reminder that we need to make the best use of our limited water resources,” notes Gatto. “Recycled water is cleaner than most of the water in our natural aquifers. It’s wasteful and inefficient to dump this water into the ocean when we could use it for a productive purpose.”

Gatto’s bill specifically protects homeowners and businesses by requiring the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Building Standards Commission to consider the cost of various recycled-water infrastructure and determine which methods will provide the greatest cost-savings for consumers. Once standards are adopted, cities with access to recycled water, or with plans to construct recycled-water facilities, will be required to adopt these mutually beneficial standards for all new construction.

AB 2282 continues Gatto’s legislative efforts to address California’s historic water shortage. In 2011, the legislature passed Gatto’s AB 849, which reduced cities’ ability to opt out of passing graywater regulations, and in 2012, the Legislature passed Gatto’s bill AB 2230 requiring all new carwashes to use 60% recycled water by 2014. In 2012 and 2013, Gatto authored legislation to create CalConserve, a revolving loan fund for water-use efficiency retrofits.

“This bill is about building more infrastructure,” says Gatto. “Single-family homes use about 60% of their water outside; if people could water their lawns and wash their cars with recycled water, there would be 60% more clean water available for consumption, crops, and bathtubs.”

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly. He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake.