Viewing water renovation and reuse in regional water resources systems


  • Richard J. Frankel


In planning regional water resource systems, water renovation and reuse on a large-scale basis are virtually disregarded as serious alternatives to pollution abatement for future water use requirements. Where projects are wholly federally planned, the chief reason for this situation stems from current policy, which authorizes low-flow augmentation as the sole tool of water quality management available to river-basin planners on a nonreimbursable basis. This institutional constraint has introduced serious inefficiencies into federal expenditure programs for quality improvement [Davis, 1966; Natl. Acad. Sci., 1966].

No public measures currently exist to induce municipalities to reclaim wastewaters, and if the only beneficiaries are downstream water users, the municipalities themselves are unwilling to take action. However, by enforcing high effluent standards and thereby forcing municipalities to expend large sums in waste treatment, pollution control agencies have improved the prospects for wastewater reclamation. Obviously, with sale of reclaimed effluent for water supplies or reutilization of reclaimed waters for recreation, upstream as well as downstream communities can benefit greatly through reclamation measures.