GE reasserts policy proposals for water reuse

Engineering giant, GE, has again urged policymakers to consider four major policy options for water recycling and reuse first unveiled at Water Arabia 2015 in February this year.

GE has highlighted its February Addressing Water Scarcity through Recycling and Reuse white paper in which it calls on governments that are looking to expand water recycling and reuse to focus on: education and outreach, removing barriers, incentives, and mandates and regulations.

“Today’s growing populations and economies are creating an unsustainable demand for water. By 2050, the world will demand 55% more water and 70% more energy. Municipalities and governments need to reuse more water to ensure demand equals supply. The goal of our new white paper is to help them think through their options for water recycling and reuse while providing a menu of policy options and concrete examples of how these policies are being applied around the world,” said president and chief executive officer of water and process technologies for GE Power and Water, Heiner Markhoff.

GE’s white paper will be showcased on June 3 in San Francisco at The Economic Power of Water event hosted by GE and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

GE’S outlines of water recycling and reuse policy options

Education and outreach

Education and outreach are critical to advancing water recycling. Most communities with a water-recycling program have active public education programs to raise awareness and to help overcome any public concerns about the safety and quality of recycled water.

Removing barriers

Barriers to water recycling are technological, financial and regulatory, and one of the biggest barriers is a water code that does not recognize the use of recycled water. The first steps toward breaking down barriers are to set specific quality standards for recycled water and to provide guidance on the use of the reclaimed water.


The most common incentive is economic, making recycled water cheaper than potable water. Other approaches are to tie water usage to conservation programs and to exempt recycled water users from many of the community’s conservation requirements.

Mandates and regulations

Some communities facing severe water restrictions adopt laws requiring the use of recycled water. The two most common methods to mandating the use of recycled water are requirements targeting the supply of recycled water by regional or local wastewater treatment districts and requirements affecting the use of recycled water by residents or businesses.