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Recycled Water Research Program

Recycled Water Research Program

The State Water Board works with members of the recycled water community to identify knowledge gaps in recycled water research areas, for both potable and non-potable applications. Staff use this input to develop recycled water research funding priorities. The State Water Board has historically funded recycled water research through the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, Watershed Protection, and Flood Protection Act (2000 Water Bond, Proposition 13) and other funding sources. The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (2014 Bond Law, Proposition 1) provides grant and low interest financing for water recycling projects. The California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, Outdoor Protection for All Act of 2018 (Proposition 68) authorized funding for water recycling research and development pursuant to Water Code sections 79135 et seq. and 79765 et seq.

The State Water Board may dedicate up to three percent of the Bond funding allocated to recycled water, as well as three percent of repayments from Bond-funded water recycling construction loans, to recycled water research and development as set forth in Water Code section 79144. The availability of Proposition 1, 13, and 68 funding has provided the State Water Board with the opportunity to continue to facilitate recycled water research to advance the use of recycled water in California. The State Water Board authorized the Deputy Director of the Division of Financial Assistance to enter into agreements for recycled water research for the use of these funds in Resolution 2017-0034.

Grant Agreement No. D2105001

Title: National Alliance for Water Innovation Water Recycling Research

Funding Information:
Recipient Regents of the University of California, Office of the President
Grant Funds 2,500,000
Status Active


This grant is for the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI), which has an existing contract with the United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) to act as its Energy-Water Desalination Hub, and is for the purpose of conducting research to lower the cost and energy of desalination for reuse applications. Research focuses on improving efficiency by identifying new processes to reduce energy use, improve brine management, increase the longevity of system components, or develop methodologies to optimize operational efficiency.

The Regents of the University of California, Office of the President (UCOP) is the Recipient for the funds and will act as NAWI’s contracting authority. Specifically, the Research Grants Program Office (RGPO) within UCOP, working directly with NAWI, will manage the agreement for NAWI.

Grant Agreement No. D1705003

Title:Research to Advance Potable and Non-Potable Reuse in California

Funding Information:
Recipient The Water Research Foundation
Grant Funds $3,114,100
Status Active


To achieve the goals outlined in the Recycled Water Policy, research is needed to enhance the scientific understanding of non-potable and potable water reuse in California. In December 2016, the State Water Board passed Resolution No. 2016-0061, stating it supports and encourages the use of recycled water by providing funding support for research that will fill critical knowledge gaps.


The purpose of this grant is to enhance the understanding of potable and non-potable water reuse applications in California. Each year of the grant term (three years total), The Water Research Foundation identifies, develops, and prioritizes potable and non-potable recycled water research using their long-standing multi-phased process. Each year of the grant term, the Water Research Foundation convenes multiple subject-specific Advisory Committees (ACs) (e.g., Water Reuse and Desalination AC, Intelligent Water Systems AC, Sustainable Integrated Water Management AC), which are allocated a budget for their research area for the year. The ACs develop and identify the highest priority research within their area of expertise and recommend a list of research projects to the Research Advisory Council (RAC). The RAC reviews the proposed research recommendations from all ACs and develops consensus on a program of research within the allocated budget for the year that is reviewed and approved by the Water Research Foundation’s Board.

Research Selected in 2017

WRF 4832: Evaluation of CEC Removal by Ozone/BAF Treatment

WRF 4833: Impact of Wastewater Treatment Performance on Advanced Water Treatment Processes and Finished Water Quality

Research Selected in 2018

WRF 4953: Considerations and Blending Strategies for Drinking Water System Integration with Alternative Water Supplies

WRF 4954: Integration of High-Frequency Performance Data for Microbial and Chemical Compounds Control in Potable Reuse Treatment Systems

WRF 4955: Indicator Viruses for Advanced Physical Treatment Process Performance Confirmation

WRF 4957: Compiling Evidence of Pathogen Reduction through Managed Aquifer Recharge and Recovery

WRF 4958: New Techniques, Tools, and Validation Protocols for Achieving Log Removal Credit Across NF and RO Membranes

WRF 4959: Evaluation of Tier 3 Validation Protocol for Membrane Bioreactors to Achieve Higher Pathogen Credit for Potable Reuse

WRF 4960: Review of Industrial Contaminants Associated with Water Quality or Adverse Performance Impacts for Potable Reuse Treatment

WRF 4961: The Use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Technologies and Metagenomics Approaches to Evaluate Water and Wastewater Quality Monitoring and Treatment Technologies

WRF 4962: Identifying the Amount of Wastewater that is Available and Feasible to Recycled in California

WRF 4963: Developing a New Foundational Understanding of SAR – Soil Structure Interactions to Provide Management Option for Recycled Water Use in Agriculture

WRF 4964: Assessing the State of Knowledge and Impacts of Recycled Water Irrigation on Agricultural Crops

WRF 4993: Potential of Oilfield Produced Water for Irrigation in California

Research Selected in 2019

WRF 5047: Ozone and Biological Treatment for DBP Control and Biological Stability

WRF 5048: Integrating Real-Time Collection System Monitoring Approaches into Enhanced Source Control Programs for Potable Reuse

WRF 5049: Benefits and Challenges in Pathogen Removal when Blending Advanced Treated Water with Raw Water Upstream of a Surface Water Treatment Plant in DPR

WRF 5050: UV/Chlorine AOP in Potable Reuse: Assessment of Applicability, Operational Issues, and Potential By-Products

WRF 5051: Geochemical Considerations for Managed Aquifer Recharge Implementation in Potable Reuse

WRF 5052: Standardizing Methods with QA/QC Standards for Investigating the Occurrence and Removal of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria/Antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARB/ARGs) in Surface Water, Wastewater, and Recycled Water


Please go to the Water Research Foundation website for more information on how to open RFPs.

Grant Agreement No. D1905006

Title: Research to Develop and standardize Bioanalytical Screening Tools

Funding Information:
Recipient Southern California Coastal Water Research Project
Grant Funds $1,000,000
Status Active


This grant is for the purpose of creating an in vitro bioassay (IVB) toolbox for a variety of ecological and human health endpoints to screen for bioactivity associated with exposure to a wide range of chemicals found in ambient and recycled water using a multi-stage development process.

Proposition 1 Funded Projects

Proposition 13 Funded Projects

Other Funded Projects:

2021 Panel on Constituents of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Ambient Ecosystems
The State Water Board and Ocean Protection Council are jointly funding the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project to reconvene the Science Advisory Panel on Constituents of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Aquatic Ecosystems (Panel) to update its recommendations for monitoring and management of CECs in marine, freshwater, and estuarine ecosystems. The Panel will update the risk prioritization framework developed in the 2012 report, Monitoring Strategies for Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) in California’s Aquatic Ecosystems, to address classes of chemicals, structurally-related chemicals, and data-poor chemical classes. The Panel will also provide the State Water Board with guidance on which classes of CECs have the potential to adversely impact marine, estuarine and freshwater wildlife, ecosystems, and beneficial uses, and will recommend management actions for the Water Boards to take to better address CECs in the aquatic environment.
The Panel began its deliberations with four two-hour public webinar meetings Oct 12-15, 2020. The Panel plans to deliberate through summer 2021 and will produce its final report in December 2021. For more information, please visit the SCCWRP website.

2018 Panel on Constituents of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Recycled Water
In accordance with the provisions of the Recycled Water Policy, Resolution 2016-0061, and Resolution 2017-0034, the State Water Board provided a grant to the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) to reconvene the 2010 Science Advisory Panel for Recycled Water that presented recommendations for monitoring CECs in recycled water. The Panel reviewed the conceptual framework developed in the 2010 report, evaluated the scientific literature since the Panel last met, and assessed the potential health risks associated with CECs in various water recycling qualities allowed under the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, and use of recycled water for augmentation of surface water reservoirs used to supply drinking water.

Recycled Water Research Needs in California
October 2015 Workshop
The State Water Board held a workshop on October 27-28, 2015 in Costa Mesa focused on the state of the science, monitoring techniques, and water treatment reliability for constituents of emerging concern (CECs) in recycled water. The goal of the workshop was to help the State Water Board identify knowledge gaps to identify and prioritize CEC monitoring and treatment activities that will ensure water supplies from recycled water, including potable reuse, are protective of public health and the environment. The workshop included presentations from experts regarding monitoring and treatment performance for CECs, as well as breakout sessions intended to review and discuss the most important CEC research needs. At the conclusion of each day, a summary of recommendations based on the breakout discussions was developed by the participants.
October 27-28, 2015 Workshop Summary

October 2014 Workshop
The California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) held a workshop on October 29, 2014 to enhance interaction among the many water quality management agencies affected by transition of drinking water oversight from the California Department of Public Health to the newly created State Water Board Division of Drinking Water. The workshop focused on developing shared research priorities for water reuse and stormwater capture, and included 57 invited leaders from stormwater, wastewater treatment and drinking water entities, as well as staff from the State Water Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards (collectively, Water Boards). The workshop considered issues associated with direct potable reuse, indirect potable reuse and surface water augmentation, and was organized around four research themes: (1) water quality and human health, (2) performance reliability (treatment, operations and training), (3) ambient water effects and (4) financial, environmental and social considerations. Participants were provided summaries of present knowledge and research needs within each theme area and were asked to help prioritize those needs.
October 29, 2014 Workshop Summary

2012 Panel on Constituents of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Aquatic Ecosystems
In April 2012, the State Water Board and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation jointly funded a scientific advisory panel to provide recommendations for monitoring CECs in aquatic ecosystems. The Panel provided recommendations in a report titled, “Monitoring Strategies for Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) in California’s Aquatic Ecosystems.” In the report, the Panel recommended using a risk-based screening framework to identify an initial list of CECs to monitor in aquatic ecosystems. The Panel also recommended implementing an adaptive, phased monitoring approach to assess the presence of the CECs and their potential risk to the environment.

2010 Panel on Constituents of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Recycled Water
In accordance with the provisions of the Recycled Water Policy, a Science Advisory Panel was established to address questions about regulating CECs with respect to the use of recycled water. The Panel’s primary charge was to provide guidance for developing monitoring programs that assess potential CEC threats from various water recycling practices, including groundwater recharge and urban landscape irrigation. Under contract with the State Water Resources Control Board and using advice from a diverse stakeholder group, SCCWRP convened the Science Advisory Panel.

2010 Final Report: Monitoring Strategies for Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Recycled Water – Recommendations of a Science Advisory Panel

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Cindy Figueroa