California Takes Lead In Water Reuse

Oct. 3, 2016
U.S. water reuse capacity will increase 58% over next ten years.

Led by California and Florida, water reuse (the process of recycling wastewater) is taking off in states facing drought and scarcity. Municipal wastewater reuse capacity is expected to increase 58% from 2016 through 2026, according to new market forecasts from Bluefield Research – based on a database of 607 currently planned reuse projects. CAPEX investment in reuse is expected to total $11 billion between 2016 and 2026.

"Water scarcity continues to be the primary driver for water reuse implementation; the scaling roster of projects demonstrated in our semi-annual review highlights wider adoption by utilities going forward," says Erin Bonney Casey, senior analyst for Bluefield Research.

California and Florida account for 36% and 26% of currently planned reuse capacity additions, respectively, according to Bluefield. Florida has the most installed reuse capacity to date with 6.3 million m3/d because of its long commitment to reuse to improve water quality and guarantee adequate supply for a growing population, according to Bluefield's analysis.

"California is proving to be the greatest opportunity for reuse market growth, backed by $4.3 billion of planned activity, an improving regulatory environment and its well-documented drought," says Bonney Casey. "So far projects have taken years to develop, but given the recent supply concerns, we anticipate a more streamlined process going forward, particularly for potable applications."

Four states – Florida, California, Colorado and Texas – make up 581, or 95%, of planned reuse projects in the US, according to Bluefield. Colorado released its first statewide water plan in November 2015, outlining 51 planned reuse projects. Potable reuse projects, direct and indirect, are reportedly gaining momentum with 2.6 million m3/d in capacity additions accounting for $2.9 billion investment in advanced treatment technology solutions.

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