Disruptive Technology for Water: Water Reuse

June 22, 2021 Categories: Environmental - Opinion Piece

In the second of four blog posts, Matt Hale, International Sales & Marketing Director at HRS Heat Exchangers looks at how the disruptive technology of water reuse can help solve the many challenges the water sector faces around the world.

Various factors including increasing population, greater environmental demands to preserve and protect water sources, and climate change mean that alternative sources of clean and potable water need to be utilised. We have already seen increased use of rain capture and brown water reuse for cleaning and toilet flushing in many buildings, but there is increasing interest in treating wastewater streams to make them potable and immediately returning them to the water supply system (direct reuse), rather than returning treated wastewater to the environment through river systems and aquifers (indirect reuse).

A number of technologies already exist to enable wastewater to be processed into potable water, and as the economics of water abstraction and availability change, these will become more widespread. In order to become widely adopted, society will need to accept the idea that suitably treated wastewater is a desirable source of usable potable water – something that will be easier in some societies than others. This is not to say that it cannot be successfully achieved, as has been seen with projects in a number of US States, as well as Israel and Australia.

The challenges which the water and wastewater sectors face over the next couple of decades should not be underestimated. Water supplies will need to move from relying on traditional freshwater resources towards sustainable diversified portfolio, and new novel and disruptive technologies will need to be implemented. However, existing technologies and simple principles (such as maximizing efficiency at every opportunity) will also have important roles to play. With a mixture of established and new technologies the water industry is well-placed to become more sustainable and a cornerstone of the wider circular economy.

 

¹ https://www.theukwaterpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/UK-Water-Partnership-Digital-Water.pdf

² Ver: Voutchkov, N.: Disruptive Innovation in the Water Sector. https://thesolutionsjournal.com/2020/05/14/disruptive-innovation-water-sector/

³ McKinsey Global Institute: Smart Cities: Digital Solutions for a More Liveable Future. https://tinyurl.com/y4nexe4t

 

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