Australian study looks at reuse scheme economics

A study has just been published in Australia on development of a holistic framework for rigorous assessment of the economics of non-potable recycled water schemes, including residential, industrial, municipal and agricultural schemes.

Supported by funding from the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence, the study Economic viability of recycled water schemes was carried out by Marsden Jacob Associates.

The report found that many water reuse schemes use a variety of limited assessment methods for their costing and planning decisions. Economic and commercial benefits are often inappropriately estimated and poorly delineated between parties, rendering the economic case for investment in recycled water projects difficult to establish in advance and to determine in hindsight.

To remedy these deficiencies, the report describes a general methodology for assessing both use and non-use values, and identifies the most prominent costs and benefits that apply across all non-potable recycled water schemes. In addition to the general costs and benefits, the framework allows for the inclusion of other costs and benefits specific to each project.

Looking at barriers to implementation of projects, the project says that the team’s primary feedback was that the greatest impediments were cost-effectiveness and commercial risk. The report makes recommendations to smooth the process and to reduce the risk.