Six Feet in Solidarity – Week 4: Water Reuse — @WaterEdCO

From Water Education Colorado (Caitlin Coleman):

The Promise of Reuse

For decades, Colorado has been recycling water for landscaping purposes. More recent has been indirect potable reuse, where treated wastewater flows through an environmental buffer, such as a river, before being extracted for further treatment to make it suitable for drinking and other domestic uses.

Now, Colorado and several other water-stressed states are moving toward direct potable reuse. “Widespread development of potable reuse will be an important facet of closing the future water supply-demand gap,” said the Colorado Water Plan, published in 2015 in Chapter 6.3.2, the Water Supply Management-Reuse chapter, which includes information on reuse beginning on page 6-75.

Potable reuse most certainly won’t be a cure-all for Colorado’s water shortages. It’s just one potential tool in a kit, applicable for specialized settings. But wide adoption of direct potable reuse relies, at least in part, on adoption of state standards governing treatment processes and monitoring protocols. Read about it in “Purified” from our Fall 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine, which focused on water reuse.

Is Colorado working on state regulations to govern direct potable reuse?

Yes. A new report, crafted by a National Water Research Institute-organized panel of reuse experts, details potential Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulations for direct potable reuse (DPR), which isn’t addressed in current regulations.

The report is part of WateReuse Colorado’s efforts to follow up on the water plan, which said Colorado needed a clear regulatory framework on reuse if reuse is to help address the future water supply-demand gap.

Getting this framework in place will give utilities the certainty they need to pursue DPR, which is critical for optimizing supplies they already have, says Laura Belanger from Western Resource Advocates.

Read what the report says and next steps in Colorado in the story “Getting Closer to Governing Direct Potable Reuse” from the new Spring 2020 issue of Headwaters magazine.

How does reuse optimize water supplies?

Check out the graphic below to conceptualize the multiplying effect of reuse:

Graphic credit: Water Education Colorado

Is water reuse on the rise?

In February, 2019, WEco offered a webinar exploring this question. Watch it to hear local experts discuss why more communities are turning toward water reuse and what regulations, policies, or other next steps need to fall into place for water recycling to grow. Watch it here</a

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