IWA Publishing

Direct potable reuse: a future imperative


As a result of population growth, urbanization, and climate change, public water supplies are becoming stressed, and the chances of tapping new water supplies for metropolitan areas are getting more difficult, if not impossible. As a consequence, existing water supplies must go further. One way to achieve this objective is by increased water reuse, particularly in supplementing municipal water supplies. Although water reuse offers many opportunities it also involves a number of problems. A significant cost for nonpotable water reuse in urban areas is associated with the need to provide separate piping and storage systems for reclaimed water. In most situations, the cost of a dual distribution system has been prohibitive and thus, has limited implementation for water reuse programs. The solution to the problem of distribution is to implement direct potable reuse (DPR) of purified water in the existing water distribution system. The purpose of this paper is to consider (a) a future in which DPR will be the norm and (b) the steps that will need to be taken to make this a reality. Following an overview, the rationale for DPR, some examples of DPR projects, technological and implementation issues, and future expectations are examined.

Keywords: direct potable reuse, engineered storage buffer, potable reuse, water reuse

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