Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Water board discusses drinking wastewater

Water is pumped on a field near Woodville School in Tulare County on Tuesday Sept. 13, 2016.
Water is pumped on a field near Woodville School in Tulare County on Tuesday Sept. 13, 2016.

Let’s talk about drinking (treated) pee.

California is in the midst of a multi-year drought and just last week forecasters admitted to having no idea if the upcoming wet season will actually bring any rain. With water scarcity a major concern in California and beyond, recycling wastewater to drinkable standards is evolving from idea to reality.

The state commissioned a panel of experts through the State Water Resources Control Board to determine if it’s possible to develop standards for recycling wastewater into a drinkable source. Short answer: It’s doable, but we need to conduct more public health research first.

The water board will present a draft of its findings and invite public comment at a workshop at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters on I Street at 1 p.m. today.

WORTH REPEATING: “I’d like to veto a lot more, but I’ve got to get along with the Legislature.” – Gov. Jerry Brown, on using his executive powers judiciously.

DOCTOR’S ORDERS: Big tobacco’s newest television ad stars a doctor explaining how Proposition 56 “lines the pockets of wealthy special interests,” with only a small fraction of the proceeds of the $2 cigarette tax increase dedicated to anti-smoking efforts. The commercial is the latest example of the “No on 56” campaign reaching into the deep pockets of tobacco companies Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds to sway voters in November. The “Yes on 56” coalition, which reports a fundraising pot of $22.7 million – less than half of the tobacco’s campaign funds – is giving doctors a podium today to denounce the “lie-filled, tobacco-industry funded” ad. Led by Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, doctors will speak out against the ad at noon at the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Gov. Brown credits Arnold Schwarzenegger for backing high-speed rail and the Delta tunnels project

TEACHER DIVERSITY: In a joint hearing at San Jose State University, legislators will probe the idea of improving faculty diversity at California public colleges. Assembly members Jose Medina, D-Riverside, and Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, will lead the hearing, which begins at 9 a.m.

BY THE NUMBERS: State political parties and county central committees have been pouring money into legislative races in recent weeks and there’s more where that came from. Parties began the final several weeks of fall campaigning with $27 million on hand, according to state filings due late last week. The biggest chunk of that was the $18.4 million ending balance of the California Democratic Party, more than four times the Sept. 24 ending balance reported by the California Republican Party. County central committees, a conduit for political cash from donors to candidates, had millions more in the bank, with about 20 reporting at least $100,000 cash on hand as of Sept. 24.

Jim Miller of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna.