Limited Freshwater Resources to Ensure Rise of Global Water Recycle and Reuse Market

Water recycling refers to the method of utilizing treated wastewater for various purposes such as industrial processing, agriculture and landscape irrigation, and toilet flushing. The global supply of fresh water is limited and is threatened by pollution. The rising demand for water from agricultural and industrial sectors and cities is creating bottlenecks in the efficient allocation of the limited fresh water resources.

Water recycling and reuse has emerged as an effective and reliable source of water supply. Thus, non-potable reuse has become a widespread practice and is anticipated to continue to grow in the coming years. Non-potable water sources include reclaimed/recycled water, rainwater, and gray water. Despite non-potable water not being considered appropriate for human consumption, it can be put to use in a myriad of applications.

The global market for water recycle and reuse is witnessing lucrative opportunities around the world. Additionally, the market is also gaining from the several projects invested on in the last two decades. 

The most prominent projects of water reuse in the agricultural sector include:

Monterey, California: A scheme to use a substantial portion of the recycled water from Monterey and adjoining towns to irrigate 5000 ha of agricultural land in Lower Salinas Valley has been constructed by the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency.

Mexico City: Mexico has set a precedent in using recycled water. 90% of the wastewater from Mexico City is used for irrigation in the Valley of Mexico. Moreover, the wastewater obtained also caters to the irrigation requirements in the adjoining Mezquital Valley. This region witnesses scanty rainfall throughout the year. The wastewater is used to irrigate an area of about 90,000 ha.

Dan Region, Israel: The total water requirement in Israel exceeds the available water resources. To help mitigate this persistent problem, the country extensively depends on recycled water for agricultural purposes. The wastewater collected from Tel Aviv is treated and then subverted into an aquifer for further treatment. The water obtained from recovery wells is then pumped through the Dan region pipeline to cater to the agricultural needs in the Negev Desert and Dan region.

A few of the most popular water treatment projects for urban reuse are:

St Petersburg, Florida: The city of St Petersburg in Florida has an extensive urban water reuse scheme, which has been in use since 1977. The scheme now supplies recycled water to more than 10,000 properties, including 9,300 residential complexes.

Irvine Ranch, California: The construction of a dual recycled water scheme called the Irvine Ranch Water District commenced in 1977. The recycled water obtained from this scheme is extensively used for landscape irrigation including food crops, gardens, car washes, ornamental lakes, and industrial mills.

South Bay, California: In the Silicon Valley of California, the San Clara County and San Jose authorities are given directives to limit freshwater discharge to the south end of San Francisco Bay to 450,000 m3/d with an aim of reducing environmental damage. Instead of constructing ocean outfall, the authorities have built the South Bay Water Recycling Scheme to provide recycled water for agricultural, urban, and industrial reuse.

Apart from the aforementioned schemes, governments around the world are proactively investing on the construction of new projects to provide efficient solutions to drought-ridden regions. The construction of new schemes will also aid in curbing the rising carbon footprint. Owing to these intrinsic benefits of water recycle and reuse, their demand is poised to surge exponentially in the forthcoming years.

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