Blackwater Costs

Photo Credit: frankieleon

Water reclaimed from blackwater is generally more expensive to produce and deliver than potable water bought from water agencies. However, that cost is considerably lower than the cost of the next available “alternative” water supply, such as water imported from another basin, seawater desalination or brackish water desalination).

Delivered cost of recycled water in California ranges from $250/AF ($ 0.20 /m3) to $1,300/AF ($ 1.05/m3). The recently completed Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System, using RO-membrane-treated recycled water to recharge the potable water aquifer cost $600/AF ($ 0.49/m3).

Rebates, subsidies, and low-interest loans are available for implementation of recycled water projects due to the recognition of the contribution of this resource to the overall water supply security. In fact, the State of California has adopted official goals to develop one million acre-ft per year of additional recycled water by the year 2020 and two million AFY by 2030. These legislative goals open the door to future financial support for local agencies planning new or expanded water recycling projects.