improvements to reduce ineffciencies, improved metering
to reduce demand, emergency groundwater extraction,
rainwater capture and storage, and major investments in
desalination and water reuse, including direct potable reuse.
On a national basis, the country is facing a 7-22 percent
defcit by 2030, depending on development of new
supply systems. The projected markets for industrial and
municipal potable water reuse in the Western Cape are R600
million (US$44 million) and R4.5 billion (US$300 million),
respectively. While reverse osmosis has been implemented
in South Africa (e.g. in Beaufort West) and will continue to
play a large role in the growing DPR market because of the
country’s coastal location, ozone-BAF is being trialed for DPR
in Darvill (Kwazulu natal), as well as for crop irrigation in DE
The last decade has marked a dramatic shift in public
perception and acceptance for water reuse. Two decades ago,
negative public perception effectively relegated water reuse
as a non-starter in many communities, including San Diego.
Fast forward to 2017 – the Pure Water San Diego Program
has initiated fnal design for a 114,000 m3/day purifed
water facility to deliver water to the Miramar Reservoir for
ultimate treatment at Miramar Water Treatment Plant. Once
unthinkable in San Diego, several multi-year droughts in
combination with an extensive public outreach and education
campaign have allowed for an atmosphere where the
majority of residents support potable reuse and recognise its
pivotal role in water reliability.
Integration of potable reuse into mainstream culture
is slowly gaining momentum in a unique and surprising
way – using purifed water for beer brewing competitions
(including home brewers and microbreweries) organised by
water reuse associations and communities. These and similar
events provide experiences that, while valuable in education,
can help shift the way the public thinks about purifed water
in a fun and engaging manner.
SEEKING A HIGHER PURPOSE
As communities and industry move toward applications and
technologies associated with ft-for-purpose water, the debate
will inevitably shift to reusing water for its highest purpose.
For example, does it make sense to provide advanced
treatment only to pump that highly treated water into the
ground? Is landscaping irrigation the best and highest use
for this alternative water supply, or does potable reuse serve
a higher purpose? Communities juggle limited resources
and must make decisions based on reliability, resiliency and
Water is a limited resource, and conservation is an
important tool in a community’s toolbox for water
sustainability. However, as population grows and with
more frequent and longer-lasting droughts, water reuse –
in particular, potable reuse – is an option that can serve to
bolster water security and stability for many communities.
Vijay Sundaram is a regional practice leader in wastewater, Melanie
Holmer is the California region practice lead for water and Allegra da
Silva is the Rocky Mountain Region practice lead for water reuse at
Stantec. Lucinda Jooste is from Xylem.
Moving the needle: The debate will eventually shift to reusing water for its highest purpose