BOSTON, MA — 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 $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."
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 $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.