Water Reuse Gains Momentum in U.S. Amid Drought, Water Scarcity

Water scarcity and drought continue to reshape the water landscape, as demonstrated by the recent increase in wastewater reuse projects in the U.S. Four states — Florida, California, Texas, and Colorado – now account for 95% of the development pipeline that has surpassed 480 planned projects, according to a new market update from Bluefield Research.

More than four hundred of these systems are slated for completion by 2030, accounting for over 6.7 million m3/d of reuse capacity, or US$13 billion in infrastructure investment, according to Bluefield’s latest analysis. Just in the last six months, Bluefield has identified 42 newly commissioned reuse systems.

“Support for water reuse, or water recycling, is increasingly evident at both the state and federal levels,” says Erin Bonney Casey, Senior Analyst for Bluefield Research. “Over the last six months, we have seen the reuse project pipeline more than double because of updated state plans and growing municipal utility concerns about long-term water supply risks.”

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

Source: Bluefield Research

“There are still significant regulatory strides to be made,” says Bonney Casey. “As the list of reuse references grows in the U.S., key stakeholders will be able to rely on lessons learned and, therefore, enable greater comfort levels towards water recycling.”

Recent Market Developments:

  • Colorado released its first state-wide water plan in November 2015, outlining 51 planned reuse projects.
  • Texas’s 2016 Regional Water Plans outlined an additional 100 water reuse projects over the 50-year planning horizon.
  • California is aggressively pursuing reclaimed water projects as part of its drought relief strategy.
  • Florida published a state-sponsored study on the expansion of the beneficial uses of reclaimed water, building on its market-leading history of reuse projects.
  • The U.S. Senate is currently debating a bill that would provide up to US$350 million for reuse projects to increase drought resiliency.

Bluefield’s ongoing analysis of wastewater reuse projects and market trends draws from our in-depth report, U.S. Municipal Wastewater & Reuse: Market Trends, Opportunities and Forecasts, 2015-2025.