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Alternative Water Supplies: Water Reuse and Brackish Desal Gaining Traction

The importance of alternative water supplies – such as water reuse, brackish groundwater and desalination – continues to grow as organizations look to build sustainable and resilient water supplies.

In most cases, the adoption of alternative water supplies is regionally specific. For instance, in the Southwest U.S., Texas and Florida, the emphasis is on developing potable reuse. Non-potable reuse continues to be broadly employed across the country, and desalination is being implemented in select applications where cost and environmental permitting can be overcome.

According to the 2016 Black & Veatch Strategic Directions: Water Industry report, non-potable reuse is finding its way as a good “middle ground” for utilities and the public to consider. For instance, nearly 25 percent of water utilities that serve power plants are implementing non-potable water reuse, a figure expected to rise another 10 percent over the next three years. Use of recycled water in cooling towers is expected to nearly double in the next three years, from 16 percent to 30 percent, and data center reuse will fully double in usage, according to respondents’ three-year outlook.

“Even in so-called ‘wet’ states, the interest in alternative water supplies is showing up on the radar for reasons other than drought. But a new age means that communities need to make resilience and sustainability a key focus and, therefore, begin planning and implementing alternative water supplies.”

Jon Loveland, Global Practice Leader for Alternative Water Supply in Black & Veatch’s water business