New policy passed to drive water reuse in the US
The $715 billion INVEST in America Act could drive investment in new water reuse projects as well as reactivating older schemes.
Invest in America
The US House of Representatives has passed bipartisan infrastructure legislation to invest in water reuse to build resilience to drought, flooding and the growing impacts of climate change.
As part of the $715 billion INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684), the legislation contains commitments to investing in new water reuse projects as well as reactivating older schemes.
One scheme being re-authorised is the Alternative Water Source Grants Pilot Program, which allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to grant up to $200 million a year to the state, interstate, and intrastate water resource development agencies.
“The aim is to break down silos, better leverage resources and increase stakeholder engagement.”
Funding can be used to either engineer, design, construct, and even test new water reuse projects throughout the country.
Furthermore, under the $51.25 billion wastewater infrastructure component, it includes a dedicated $1 billion towards “alternative water source and water recycling projects to augment existing water supplies”.
The new legislation also allows the EPA to establish a federal interagency working group on water reuse. The aim is to break down silos, better leverage resources and increase stakeholder engagement.
Embracing water reuse
Water reuse is widely acknowledged as method to create more resilient water supplies, yet challenges remain to connect water reuse solutions and key stakeholders.
In France, a new platform has been developed to connect water reuse solutions to stakeholders to help close the loop on water.
“Los Angeles wants to recycle 100 per cent of its water supplies and reduce its costly reliance on the water from the Colorado River Basin.”
Communities across the US are incorporating reuse into their water management strategies.
For example, the Truckee Meadows Water Authority in Reno, Nevada, is planning a 13-mile pipeline to provide 1.3 billion gallons of recycled water annually to the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Centre, the home to Tesla, Switch and Google, and ensure 20,000 jobs.
By 2035, Los Angeles plans to recycle 100 per cent of its water supplies and reduce its costly reliance on the water from the Colorado River Basin.
Furthermore, the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, home to the largest concentration of military and naval installations, plans to recycle 100 per cent of its effluent through an aquifer recovery system.
Non-for-profit WateReuse Association welcomed the news, stating that the legislation contains its “top policy priorities”, namely the creation of a culture that embraces water reuse and recycled water.
“The WateReuse Association thanks Representatives [Peter] DeFazio, [Grace] Napolitano, and [Brian] Fitzpatrick for spearheading strong, bipartisan legislation to improve our nation’s water recycling infrastructure,” said Patricia Sinicropi, executive director of the WateReuse Association.
She went on to say: “The INVEST Act is a bold step forward in improving that nation’s infrastructure so that we can build back better. We urge Congress to support the bill’s water recycling provisions as negotiations over infrastructure legislation continue.”
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