If 10% of Southern California residents installed a greywater system in their homes, the state would conserve as much potable water as it expects to generate through a $1 billion desalination plant planned for San Diego County, claims Laura Allen, author and co-founder of Greywater Action. But so far, California authorities aren’t promoting that solution to the state’s four-year drought and serious water shortage.
“Greywater” is the non-potable, slightly dirty wastewater produced by showers, bathroom sinks and laundry machines (but not toilets, dishwashers or kitchen sinks). In most households, as soon as greywater goes down the drain, it’s on its way to the municipal sewer system and, eventually, the ocean. In California, that one billion gallons of water a day that’s used once and then disposed of forever.