Home\Educate\Water Reuse 101\Research Projects\Year\2013\Recycled Water Use in Zoo and Wildlife Facility Settings

Recycled Water Use in Zoo and Wildlife Facility Settings

Project: 07-06
Year Released: 2013
Type: White Paper

Program: Principal
Funding Partner: Bureau of Reclamation
Total Investment: $48,954.56 (Cash)

Principal Investigator: Cheryl Munoz, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Background

Although much attention has been paid to recycled water use for various irrigation and industrial uses, for toilet and urinal flushing, and in cooling towers and water features, little research has been conducted on recycled water use in zoo and wildlife facility settings. There is also little if any regulatory guidance on the use of recycled water for various uses related to animal care. Zoos are often identified as major water users. Efforts by these facilities to reduce the use of potable water, including the use of recycled water where appropriate, could save millions of gallons of potable water per day. This study presents initial research on the current status of recycled water use by zoos, wildlife facilities, and aquaria in the United States and abroad and examines water quality, treatment technology, potential animal health effects, and regulatory issues.

Goals and Objectives

The project:

  • Reviews the current extent of recycled water use in zoos in the United States and abroad,
  • Summarizes the current regulations and guidelines related to recycled water use in zoos,
  • Identifies potential water quality criteria for long-term animal health, and determine the suitability of recycled water for potential uses at zoos,
  • Identifies data gaps and determine barriers or obstacles preventing recycled water use in zoos and wildlife facilities, and
  • Develops recommendations to successfully overcome barriers and obstacles.

Research Approach

The scope of this study includes:

  • Reviewing the current extent of recycled water use in zoos in the United States and abroad
  • Summarizing the current regulations and guidelines related to recycled water use in zoos
  • Identifying potential water quality criteria for long-term animal health, and determining the suitability of recycled water for potential uses at zoos
  • Identifying data gaps and determining barriers or obstacles preventing recycled water use in zoos
  • Developing recommendations to successfully overcome these barriers and obstacles

Findings and Conclusions

The following recommendations to facilitate the use of recycled water in zoo and wildlife facilities are presented:

  • Assess potential recycled water uses within zoo and wildlife facility sites, particularly exhibits with high volume, future rehabilitation of exhibits, and new exhibit construction.
  • Conduct additional research on potential effects of parameters of concern on the animals.
  • Increase awareness and outreach regarding zoo and wildlife facilities that currently use recycled water.
  • Initiate discussions with stakeholders to discuss recycled water use in zoos and wildlife facilities (zoo operations and veterinary staff, local water/recycled water provider(s), biologists, regulatory agencies).
  • Develop a sustainability program within zoos that encourage the use of recycled water.

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