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New Video Released – “Downstream”

Date: May 23, 2013

Downstream – In the World of Water, We Are All ‘Downstream’

May 23, 2012

Alexandria, VA — The WateReuse Research Foundation announces the release of a new video presentation titled “Downstream: A simple story about the need for water reuse technology for a sustainable future.” The seven-minute video is a timely companion to recent documentaries that probe water scarcity and the off-putting reaction that some people have to drinking water that has been through a wastewater treatment plant. “Downstream” puts into perspective that there is much most of us do not realize about the current use and reuse of water. In fact, this lack of understanding contributes to the stigmatization of the very thing we want to promote. The video can be viewed at www.athirstyplanet.com/your_h20/downstream.

Using vivid imagery, “Downstream” provides a transparent view of treatment technologies and reveals that water reuse does not involve drinking water directly from our toilets. The video shows that in the world of water, we are all downstream. The majority of the world’s population drinks from rivers and streams that contain treated wastewater. So even though drinking water that has been through a water purification plant may seem foreign and off-putting, it is nothing new. We have been doing it for centuries and all manner of animals (including humans) have ‘pooped’ in upstream waters.

“The Downstream video has given audiences an informed understanding of the need for water reuse as a sustainable water resource. It unlocks the viewer’s emotional and intellectual curiosity and leaves them with a clear understanding of the urban water cycle,” said Rich Nagel, General Manager of the West Basin Municipal Water District in Carson, CA.

Surprisingly, many are unaware that effective water treatment has led to the high levels of public health seen in the developed parts of the world. Today’s water treatment technologies can reliably produce extraordinarily high quality water, can do so better and faster than Mother Nature, and can produce a water that is the safest on the planet.

“Downstream” was developed as part of a WateReuse Research Foundation project. The purpose of this study was to use images and approaches to measure people’s responses to drinking water reuse. The project illustrates that where water is concerned, it is quality of treatment—not the source—that is most important. The concept of water reuse was easily embraced in research settings conducted in the U.S. and Australia. In a very short time, a majority of research respondents accepted even the most innovative drinking water reuse options.

“This is among the most important work of the WateReuse Research Foundation. When water reuse is presented to the public clearly, transparently, and without stigmatizing images, this project has shown that the public sees water reuse as the smart, commonplace and sustainable strategy that it is,” said Wade Miller, Executive Director of the WateReuse Research Foundation.

This study was conducted on behalf of the WateReuse Research Foundation by a team led by Linda Macpherson of CH2M HILL, Dr. Shane Snyder of the University of Arizona, Ian Law of IBL Solutions, and Steve Johnson of Johnson and Associates, LLC. Expert review was provided by George Tchbonaglous, a Professor Emeritus at the University of California–Davis and Dr. Paul Slovic of Decision Research.

The “Downstream” video and an executive summary from the research project can be viewed at the following url: www.athirstyplanet.com/your_h20/downstream.

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