California’s Water Softener Battle

What is going on with California’s water? It’s created controversy in small towns, city governments, and even in the California legislature. Lobbyists, townspeople and the state’s Governor have all weighed in on this issue. The all-important issue is this; do residents of California have the right to soften their home’s water supply with conventional water softener systems?

The recently passed Assembly Bill 1366 says “no”; or wait, it says “probably not but we’ll talk about it first”. AB1366 is not an official softener ban; instead it lets local water districts ban self regenerating water softeners if they make a "finding" that banning it is necessary to meet discharge standards. The bill also requires the local water districts to give advance notice and to hold public meetings if they wish to ban self regenerating water softeners.

Are water softeners taking the brunt of the blame for California's water problems? It appears so. California’s plan of action to overcome its water shortage is to tap the largest unused source of fresh water that they have; waste water. Waste water can be reclaimed and reused to subsidize an areas water supply. Unfortunately, California’s reclaimed waste water has a high level of total dissolved solids (TDS). Here’s where water softeners come into play. TDS is removed from a home’s water supply by water softeners and disbursed back into the public water supply as brine discharge aka waste water. In some areas of California, TDS measurements are high enough that it will soon have an adverse affect on certain crop yields; notably strawberries.

Are water softener systems the only sources of brine discharge? No. Is everyone in California faced with water treatment system bans and restrictions? No. It appears that the state of California has exempted itself from any water treatment system restrictions/bans even though its records from major salt companies confirm the largest user of water softener salt in California is in fact the State of California. A less than satisfied California resident put it this way, "In California, Charles Manson can have soft water but they don't want homeowners to have it.” California’s prison system continues to soften its hot water with water treatment systems and attempts to justify this by saying it is done to protect the assets of the people of California.

The people of California have repeatedly voiced their desire to protect their own home’s assets as opposed to the State of California doing it for them in the prison system. As the battle over water treatment systems rage, it is the home without softened water that faces a dismal future; pipe corrosion, tub ring, soap build-up, clogged faucets and the list goes on and on.