Using reclaimed water to drive economic development

Purple, which has become the international symbol for recycled water, is used on valve boxes, manhole covers, newer sprinkler heads and even the pipes inside our Recycling Plant via Denver Water.

Here’s a guest column from Doug Pushard that’s running in The Sante Fe New Mexican. Here’s an excerpt:

Some city in the United States will become the water-recycling capital of the country. Why not Santa Fe, New Mexico? This is a logical place to grow this industry. Santa Fe by necessity has a large need for recycled water. We are an area prone to drought. We have a very high ratio of water professionals in our state. These are a few reasons we could become the water-reuse capital of the country.

Why not put programs together to make this an economic engine for the area as well as New Mexico? Israel has used its need for water conservation to grow multibillion-dollar worldwide water businesses. The Water Smart Innovation Conference is held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, bringing together conservation professionals from around the world. These are examples of how water conservation can be linked to economic vitality…

So what would a strategy look like? It would mean our state and local economic-development efforts would target people and businesses in this industry. It would mean we put in place programs that highlight existing businesses and attract new ones to our community and state. It would mean we would have centers of excellence. It would mean we would partner with our local education institutions to make sure we’re training individuals in these fields, so companies would have ready access to a local workforce. It would mean we put programs promoting Santa Fe and New Mexico as the place to be!

Colorado State University (CSU) is teaming with the National Western Complex for the One Water Solutions Institute, connecting world-class research with real-world solutions. The university plans to complete its water laboratory, which will be a water-reuse showcase, by 2021.

New Mexico could move into a leadership position, resulting in new jobs and the ability to promote the state as having a sustainable long-term water plan. Water is key to our survival in this beautiful, but harsh state. We can lead, follow, or get out of the way. We need to grow local industries to provide good paying jobs for our communities. Why not water, why not here?

Map of the Rio Grande watershed, showing the Rio Chama joining the Rio Grande near Santa Fe. Graphic credit WikiMedia.

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