Factors like climate change, thinning groundwater resources, rises in seawater temperature, reduced flow of rivers and streams and public demand for water conservation are driving water and wastewater utilities to enhance the sustainability and resiliency of their systems. Armed with reclamation and reuse technologies, utilities are finding solutions in a range of strategies. But as each water source and its use are different, so too will be the reuse process for each application. To remain current and adaptable, utilities need to develop long-term plans with multi-benefit solutions and outcomes.
According to an article by Zeynep Erdal, Black & Veatch’s integrated solutions leader, and Jo Ann Jackson, Black & Veatch’s One Water national practice leader, companies can achieve this holistic consideration of system resilience by adopting a One Water philosophy that facilitates collaboration between different water agencies, drafting plans that account for the specificities of an area’s water sources, and identifying best-fit strategies and goals for their own community’s water.
Water reuse has developed greatly since its inception. Today, recycled water--both potable and non-potable--is used across various applications. If communities are to effectively construct resilient water systems that take advantage of reuse, they will need to take a holistic approach.
“Today, cyclic and increasingly extreme drought events are driving utilities to develop water supply resiliency through innovative use of technologies for integrated water reuse solutions that yield many water supply and management benefits,” write Erdal and Jackson. “In the years ahead, learning from past inflection points that drove expansion of water reuse to serve multiple needs as well as initiatives that rose out of extreme necessity can place water reuse on a faster-paced innovation and leadership curve.”
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