Recycled Water

Recycled water is water that has been used, treated, and distributed for beneficial reuse within the community. Recycled water (sometimes known as reclaimed water) is a sustainable, high-quality water supply – it reduces our dependency on imported water and preserves our drinking water supply for current and future generations. Half of the water supply in Santa Clara County is imported from the Sierra Nevada and the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta, and restrictions on these limited supplies continue to tighten. Recycled water is used in lieu of potable water to irrigate food crops and landscaping, cool buildings, flush toilets and urinals, and contribute to industrial processes. Recycled water is used all over the world; in Southern California, it undergoes further treatment and is used to supplement drinking water

Recycled water is available in Silicon Valley. Recycled water is available in portions of San Jose, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Gilroy. The South Bay Water Recycling program operates the largest system in Silicon Valley, providing recycled water to over 600 customers through 120 miles of dedicated pipelines in San Jose, Santa Clara, and Milpitas. To find out how you can access this source of recycled water, contact your local water retailer.


1-recycled.gifRecycled water has a long track record of successful use in cooling towers. Since 1998, South Bay Water Recycling customers have successfully used recycled water in lieu of potable water for cooling. Current customers include public institutions, power plants, manufacturing facilities, and datacenters. Learn More...

Click the Tools tab for information on the recycled water piping in the Bay Area, including a map.

More Information:

Water Recycling and Reuse by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Pacific Southwest Sustainable Water Infrastructure Program, U.S. EPA

Ensuring a Sustainable Future: An Energy Management Guidebook for
Wastewater and Water Utilities
, U.S. EPA

Climate Change and Water, an overview of relevant web pages from the
U.S. EPA and SCVWD's Climate Change Portal.

Alliance Environmental


AquaHarvest Technologies





General Electric


Integrated Water Strategies

Living Machine

Natural Systems Utilities

RainHarvest Systems


Rainwater Management Solutions


Water Control Corporation


By Mary Kean

Circa 2012, updated 2015

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