As water utilities begin to look into mitigating water supply risk, capacity of water reuse is slated to rise

United States municipal wastewater reuse landscape from 2017 to 2027. Image credit: Bluefield Research

As water utilities focus more on resiliency and water supply risk, investment in water reuse is rising and over the coming decade, water reuse capacity is forecasted to increase by 37 per cent. Consequently, according to Bluefield Research, new capacity additions in the United States (U.S.) municipal water sector are predicted to go over US$21.5 billion from 2017 to 2027. And at the very centre of U.S. water reuse activity are the states of California, Florida, and Texas, which represent a total of 80 per cent of capacity additions.

“Climate volatility, such as the recent hurricanes and California’s five-year drought, are forcing municipal utilities to seek alternative strategies to de-risk existing water supplies, and water reuse has become a key solution in their contingency plans,” Erin Bonney Casey, director of Bluefield Research, said. “Central to the adoption of potable reuse are California regulators, who are progressing towards a streamlined potable reuse policy. This is important nationwide, because the passage of a dedicated policy is expected to serve as a template for other state regulators seeking to facilitate efficiencies in water usage.”

Investment in municipal water reuse forecasted to increase 15 per cent over the coming decade, as compared to the annual one per cent generally seen in municipal water infrastructure, water reuse gives the traditionally slow-paced sector an opportunity for major and rapid growth. Majority of expenditure in water reuse is expected to go to pipes (42 per cent), advanced treatment technologies and solutions (40 per cent), and engineering and design (13 per cent).

“Competition is high, as the potential for growth and more advanced systems have attracted a host of foreign and domestic players,” Bonnet Casey added. “Market growth, coupled with demand for potable water solutions, benefits those firms supplying reverse osmosis, ultraviolet, and membrane bioreactor systems, among others. As a result, companies like IDE technologies, Trojan UV, Calgon Carbon, GE, and Xylem are poised for growth.”

Although much of the focus is on municipal utilities, industrial companies are also expanding their role in adopting water reuse technologies to take some of the pressure off treating wastewater and also to supplement ongoing water demands. Bluefield Research has pinpointed electric power plants, oil refineries, and upstream oil and gas players as the biggest opportunities for reclaiming wastewater.

“Historically, irrigation for agriculture, urban green spaces, and golf courses have been the primary applications,” Bonney Casey explained. “But now, we see craft breweries and data centres using recycled wastewater, as well as an increasing interest in onsite, or decentralised reuse systems, in commercial facilities for toilets, cooling, and landscaping.”


Source: Bluefield Research