Water Reuse - A New Priority for Industries

This is the time of year when we all begin reflecting upon the past year and deciding what direction we want our companies to take next year.  Black and Veatch recently put out a comprehensive report entitled; 2016 Strategic Directions: Water Industry Report. The 2016 report is a quantitative analysis, conducted over the past year that identifies current trends and the continuous challenges faced by the water industry. They found that the top concern was the increased demand and raising cost to maintain and preserve the integrity of infrastructure systems due to population growth. The report finds the water industry rising to meet some the grandest challenges yet. Managing infrastructure maintenance cost, navigating capital investment with limited resources and engaging customers who may be questioning the cost or the safety of their supply are all top of mind for many of the experts that were surveyed. Fortunately, there are bright spots of innovation and new approaches in cities that are learning to do more with less. Many are exploring alternative water supply strategies and energy efficiency while others are testing advanced purification technologies. In addition, they found that the application of advanced data analytics insights offers opportunities to future-proof their systems.

According to the report, the importance and interest in alternative water supplies, such as water reuse, brackish groundwater, and desalination, continues to grow throughout U.S as organizations look to build diversified, resilient water supplies.

It can be seen from the survey results that non-potable reuse is finding its way as a good “middle ground” for utilities and the public to consider. The report also states that non-potable reuse for landscaping or industrial use enjoys solid public support, and respondents to the survey indicated a strong outlook for this type of program. They suggest that the Water Reuse industry is expected to grow significantly due to the due to the following factors:

  • Interest in industrial reuse

  • Capacity for growth

  • Utilities are increasingly willing to take on new areas that they’ve not delved into in the past.

According to the survey, nearly 25% of water utilities that serve power plants are implementing non-potable water reuse, a figure expected to rise another 10% over the next three years. Use of recycled water in cooling towers is also expected to nearly double in the next three years, from 16% to 30%, and data center reuse will fully double in usage. In fact, master planning for water reuse is another way to look at the broader acceptance of alternative water supplies. Nearly 50% of respondents say they either have or plan to develop a master plan for water reuse, which shows a broad consideration across the country. Given that these results are based on responses from the entire country and not just regional responses from arid states, they highlight the bright prospect of water reuse in the future.

However, despite all of the innovations and acceptance of industrial water reuse, the scale and nature of the challenges in the water industry – from climate change to legacies of underinvestment – call for alignment, leadership, shared responsibilities and collaboration go beyond business-as-usual. Water leaders from around the world will have to address the current water situation in collaborative ways to overcome water challenges faced by cities throughout the world.

As technology improves, the best industrial water treatment methods are going to shift the paradigm from treat to discharge to treat to reuse. This is the mantra that is being recited more frequently, in the US and the rest of the world. In developing countries, high water use companies are looking for ways to reduce and reverse the consumption of potable water, putting more clean water back into the system than they take out. For instance, bottling companies are being called on to not only reuse their process water but clean enough water to be able to help the local municipalities increase clean water output to relieve the strain that they impose on the treatment system. Treatment systems that can amplify processing by reuse and even initial processing of water sources at the least cost are in high demand. The Active Water Solutions (AWS) system has proven to be capable of such processing. Using proven biological methods which have low energy requirements as well as low initial and life time costs, the AWS system approach is well suited for a wide variety of both treat to discharge as well as treat to reuse applications.

If you are actively looking for wastewater treatment technology that has industrial reuse capabilities, contact us today to learn more about our advanced treatment technologies.