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Evaluation of Historical Reuse Applications and Summary of Technical/Regulatory Issues and Related Solutions for Industrial Reuse Projects

Project: 12-03
Type: Decision-Making Tool
Year Released: 2015

Program: Principal
Funding Partners: San Diego County Water Authority, Santa Clara Valley Water District
Total Investment: $94,759 (Cash: $69,852, In-Kind cash and service: $24,907)

Principal Investigators: Joel Bowdan, P.E., Michael Baker International and Rich Layton, Transform Communications


This focused on the external water reuse supply by the external reuse water producers, primarily municipal water and wastewater utilities. Industries in the United States currently use a relatively small amount of municipally supplied recycled water in comparison to Europe and Asia. One reason for this disparity, as noted by the California Department of Water Resources Task Force, is that while there are many ways industry can use water more efficiently—including the use of recycled water and other alternative sources—significant obstacles to sustainable industrial water use remain.

For example, in instances where industrial facilities have elected to use recycled water, they have often had to overcome a number of barriers to implement their projects, including technical issues related to water quality, conflicts between water purveyors and inspectors over connection to recycled water systems, and delays in project construction due to regulatory review. In addition, many recycled water agencies have experienced difficulty in finding common ground with industrial customers due to differences in motivation, time-scale and “corporate culture.” As a result, widespread adoption of industrial water reuse has lagged in the United States despite its obvious benefits.

Although many industrial water users (along with the agencies that supply them) have taken a “wait and see” approach to water reuse, several major companies are today using recycled water successfully in their facilities.

Goals and Objectives

The project:

  • Documents and analyzes a representative group of successful water reuse projects;
  • Identifies critical parameters, technical capabilities, and regulatory requirements as well as effective communication methods; and
  • Develops a report and model template that water agencies and their customers can use to generate similar reuse projects nationwide.

Research Approach

This research expands current understanding of industrial reuse and develop tools to facilitate further reuse in four steps:

  • Identification and analysis of representative projects
  • Survey and summary of technical challenges and related solutions
  • Evaluation of existing barriers and aids to stakeholder communication
  • Development of a model/tool template to facilitate initiation and implementation of industrial reuse projects.

Project Deliverables

Developed for everyone involved in industrial water reuse, this project provides a practical roadmap, guidelines, and toolbox drawn from the best practices of the world’s leading project management organizations. It fosters understanding between recycled water providers and industrial water users, empowering them to collaborate effectively despite the key differences that exist between them. The result is a shared vision for success combined with a proven template that ensures timely, cost efficient completion of every industrial water reuse (IWR) project.

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