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Regulating the Risks of Domestic Greywater Reuse: A Comparison of England and California

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In many jurisdictions the condition of water scarcity (or water stress), either seasonally or continually, is occurring more frequently due to development pressures, increased water usage, and climate change. One way to reduce demand for new water supplies and thereby lessen the effects of water scarcity is to implement wide-scale water reuse measures such as reuse of greywater, capture of rainwater, and production of recycled potable water. After summarizing the main human health and environmental risks of non-potable reuse of household-generated greywater, the article draws on the literature to create an analytic frame of regulatory responses to those risks. It then uses that frame to compare the regulation of greywater reuse risk in England and California. With large areas of land water stressed, these jurisdictions are good comparators although significant differences in temperature and precipitation means and patterns exist. The article finds that England and California use different regulatory strategies to manage greywater reuse; it attributes this to a variety of factors including historical development, climate factors and resulting domestic water usage. These findings are significant for jurisdictions considering making greywater reuse an element of their water resources management strategy because they stress the importance of contextual factors in developing a regulatory strategy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2016

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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