Supervisor David Chiu Is Thirsty for Water-Saving Law

Categories: Politics
Thumbnail image for David Chiu portrait.jpg
Likes to save water ... and money
Supervisor David Chiu is really trying to make it easier for developers to install new on-site water treatment systems on properties with new legislation he plans on introducing today.

The legislation would help developers, builders, and contractors cut right through the dreaded red tape, paperwork, and headaches they face at City Hall when trying to get permits for water-saving devices, said San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Assistant General Manager Steve Ritchie.

The ordinance proposes to lay out a very clear path with the SFPUC, the Department of Public Health, and Department of Building Inspection, to make it as easy as possible, at least bureaucratically, for the developer to get approval for using alternative water supplies, Ritchie explained.

Now for the important question: What do these water treatment systems do? Well, they would redirect non-potable water -- the industry term for uncontaminted water that isn't fit to drink -- back into the building and in your toilet, for instance. The initial cost to install these systems might be high, but they are worth it in the long-term based on how much money can be saved on water bills alone, according to Ritchie.

Chiu plans to announce his proposal at the SFPUC's new headquarters, which has its own on-site water treatment system, this morning.

Ritchie, whose department had a role in the development of the legislation, said he was pleased with how well the plan came together, and pointed out that it didn't suffer from the usual bureaucratic infighting that plagues most legislation.

"This is actually really refreshing that people in these agencies are actually willing to talk this way among the departments and actually come up with ways to make it easier for people to do the right thing," said Richie.

"I'm quite proud of that," he said.

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