San Diego plans to improve the city’s thriving biotech and craft beer industries by lowering costs for sewer and water service, which are very high because those businesses depend on water.
The city intends to create California’s first capacity bank for water and sewer. This would let local biotech and craft beer companies buy excess capacity from former factories that have transitioned to other uses. There is also a companion proposal to lower the requirements of the city’s “Guaranteed Water Act” to make sure local firms have access to water during droughts or other shortages.
The City Council’s Economic Development Committee approved both policies Thursday, sending them to the full council for final approval in September. Industry leaders lauded the city’s new efforts during the meeting.
“This sends a message to businesses that are here that the city is taking municipal initiative and looking for ways to help businesses expand,” said Chief Executive of the Industrial Environmental Association, Jack Monger.
Businesses in the program are not responsible for the conservation requirements and water use limits when the city declares that such actions are needed as a result of drought.
In order to be eligible, businesses must show they are committed to conserving water and must agree to connect to the city’s reclaimed water pipeline—where sewage is treated—so it’s clean enough for agriculture and other relevant industries.
The proposal would remove the reclaimed water requirement, primarily because the city has ended plans to complete the reclaimed system in favor of creating Pure Water, which will turn all treated sewage in San Diego into drinkable water.