Water reuse opportunities are everywhere. When will we open our eyes to them?
Water reuse is focused on three areas:
- Rainwater harvesting
- Recovery of black water
- Recovery of grey water
Water is a key global issue, regions are experiencing varying degrees of drought and there is concern that more regions will experience water shortages. This threat has put a focus on how water is used and the approach to water use and reuse.
This is leading to an appreciation of the water value within wastewater streams and increasingly municipalities are recognizing the need to recover this water. For example, Florida has set a target to reuse 75 percent of wastewater by 2025.
A major sustainability initiative introduced in the U.K. is the "Code for Sustainable Homes" and part of this initiative is to reduce overall potable water consumption from 180 litres per day (l/p/d) to 80 l/p/d, a 56 percent reduction, by 2016.
It is estimated that 25 percent of the potable water entering homes is used to flush toilets. Given the future risks of water shortages and the cost of providing purified water for drinking, any unnecessary waste of potable water on activities such as flushing toilets, washing clothes, washing the car and watering the garden is not sustainable.
Rainwater harvesting and rainwater collection systems offer a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to a municipal or well water supply for non-potable use in residential, commercial and industrial properties.
Black water includes wastewater from toilets, which can be treated to provide water for garden irrigation and toilet flushing. The successful deployment of this technology further reduces the demand on potable water supplies.
Grey water is defined as any wastewater not generated from toilets such as wastewater from kitchen sinks, dishwashers etc. that can be used following treatment for toilet flushing and garden irrigation.
Advantages of water reuse:
- New initiatives in the U.S. such as LEED certification and the National Association of Homebuilders "National Green Building Standard" and "Code of Sustainable Homes" are being promoted to rate buildings on their water conservation credentials. These steps will further encourage the uptake of water conservation systems.
- Another advantage of rainwater capture and reuse is that it mitigates the effect of storm water run-off by storing the water on site for subsequent use, thus helping to prevent downstream flooding. Such recovery systems are located close to source and thus reduce the need for complex and costly distribution systems.
When will you be ready to begin reusing some of the water that's going down the drain in your home or business?
Tom Smith Tom Smith is the former director of operations and marketing at Anua. Tom is driving demand for wastewater treatment, water reuse, rainwater harvesting and odor/VOC control solutions. He has a B.A. from Duke University and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business.