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Mayor Jerry Sanders said this afternoon there is a good chance he would veto any City Council effort to augment the city’s water supply by recycling wastewater.

Last night, the Natural Resources and Culture Committee passed along a water reuse study to the City Council that outlines six plans for recycling water for both potable and non-potable uses.

Sanders said last week that he would not support any plan to convert sewage into drinking water – a process known in scientific terms as “indirect potable reuse” and to critics as “toilet-to-tap” – because the concept does not have public support. However, at the council hearing yesterday, all but one public speaker supported the science.

The most ambitious plan calls for the city to treat sewage and pump it into existing reservoirs, where it would receive another treatment and be sent to San Diegans’ faucets and drinking fountains.

During the committee meeting last night, environmentalists, scientists and business leaders came out to support the idea of indirect potable reuse. The committee made no recommendation other than for the full City Council to discuss the report and consider its options for building a sustainable water supply for San Diego.

Councilman Kevin Faulconer said he was still skeptical about the costs, while councilmembers Donna Frye, Ben Hueso and Toni Atkins expressed enthusiasm for such an idea.

Sanders, however, didn’t seem swayed.

“There’s a good chance I’ll veto that if it comes forward,” he said.

It would take five votes of the City Council to institute the water reuse plan. Likewise, it would only take five council votes to overturn Sanders’ veto.

The City Council plans to consider the report in September or October. The mayor has not used his veto power since taking office in December.

SAM HODGSON

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