California policy makers and industry executives gathered in San Francisco to discuss ways to mitigate the current severe drought, including making new investments in technology. The conference, sponsored by General Electric (GE) and Wharton, was held just days after new mandatory water use restrictions went into effect in California. Executives from GE, Intel (INTC), and Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG) talked about efforts being made by their companies. Heiner Markhoff, President and CEO of GE Water & Process Technologies said ‘we think the situation here in California specifically calls for more investments in wastewater treatment plants that can recycle and reuse water and make it available for agriculture, for aquifer recharge.’ Orange County recently made a big investment in expanding a wastewater treatment plant that has been recycling wastewater since 2008. Just this month the plant added extra capacity. Mike Markus, General Manager of the Orange County Water District, said ‘our facility itself produces 100 million gallons and in fact the plant is the largest indirect potable reuse project in the world. What we're seeing in California is more and more agencies are looking at this type of project to increase their water supply.’
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