California to Surpass Florida as Largest Market for Water Reuse

With 607 projects in the pipeline, U.S. water reuse capacity to increase 58% in next ten years

Led by California and Florida, water reuse (the process of recycling wastewater) is taking off in states facing drought and scarcity. Municipal wastewater reuse capacity is expected to increase 58% from 2016 through 2026, according to new market forecasts from Bluefield Research — based on a database of 607 currently planned reuse projects. CAPEX investment in reuse is expected to total US $11 billion between 2016 and 2026.

“Water scarcity continues to be the primary driver for water reuse implementation – the scaling roster of projects demonstrated in our semi-annual review highlights wider adoption by utilities going forward,” according to Erin Bonney Casey, Senior Analyst for Bluefield Research.

California and Florida account for 36% and 26% of currently planned reuse capacity additions, respectively. Florida has the most installed reuse capacity to date with 6.3 million m3/d because of its long commitment to reuse to improve water quality and guarantee adequate supply for a growing population, according to Bluefield’s analysis.

“California is proving to be the greatest opportunity for reuse market growth, backed by US$4.3 billion of planned activity, an improving regulatory environment, and its well-documented drought,” says Bonney Casey. “So far projects have taken years to develop, but given the recent supply concerns, we anticipate a more streamlined process going forward, particularly for potable applications.”

U.S. Water Reuse Capacity (Planned and Installed)

Source: Bluefield Research

Four states — Florida, California, Colorado, and Texas — make up 581, or 95%, of planned reuse projects in the US. Colorado released its first state-wide water plan in November 2015, outlining 51 planned reuse projects. Potable reuse projects- direct and indirect- are also gaining momentum with 2.6 million m3/d in capacity additions accounting for US$2.9 billion investment in advanced treatment technology solutions.

“We expect the reuse pipeline to continue to grow as states continue to face drought conditions. Longer-term water planning cycles and regulation standardizing projects demonstrate greater support for the expansion of reuse systems, and contribute to the growing pipeline of planned projects,” adds Bonney Casey.