Top five takeaways on what’s shaping water reuse globally

Our survey of Water. desalination + reuse readers was conducted to gauge the industry’s perceptions about the factors influencing the growth of water reuse markets globally. We present the top five facts from among the rich set of data collected.

1. Water scarcity is the most powerful factor driving reuse

Respondents were asked to rate five factors by how important they considered each one to be as a driver of water reuse. Water scarcity topped the list, scoring 3.79 out of a possible five points. Scarcity was ranked as either a “strong” or “very strong” driver by 68.94 per cent of respondents, and received the highest rating from those working in the Americas.

2. Cost is the biggest factor hindering water reuse projects

Cost topped the list of barriers to water reuse by some distance, scoring 3.56 out of as possible five points. Overall, 60.75 per cent of respondents scored cost as either a “strong” or “very strong” barrier to water reuse projects. The factor was ranked highest by those working in Asia Pacific, where it scored 3.69, and 67.44 voted it a “strong” or “very strong” barrier.

3. Water treatment technology is top for innovation

Respondents were asked to score seven different fields of potential innovation for their level of impact in water reuse. Innovations in water treatment technology scored highest, gaining 3.79 out of a possible five points. In fact, six out of the seven suggested fields were rated as between “mid-level” and “strong” for innovation.

Respondents who work in Asia Pacific scored higher than the averages across all fields of innovation, apart from water quality monitoring. On the other hand, those in MEA scored all fields of innovation lower than the averages.

4. Public perceptions are a barrier to projects most strongly in the case of direct potable reuse

Public perceptions are considered the biggest barrier by far in the case of direct potable reuse (DPR), scoring 3.84 out of a possible five points. A whopping 70.37 per cent rated public opinion as either a “strong” or “very strong” barrier to DPR, with 50.93 opting for “very strong”.

Those who work in the municipal sector were particularly likely to score high on public opinion as a barrier to DPR. Among this group, it scored 3.94 out of a possible five points, and was rated “strong” or “very strong” by 73 per cent, with 54.6 per cent option for “very strong”.

5. Success stories are most likely to shift public opinions

Asked what is most likely to be effective in improving public perceptions, respondent rated existing successful projects highest, with a score of 3.95 out of a possible five. This was followed a close second by clear regulatory guidelines at 3.94, and public education on water scarcity at 3.89.

The survey, Water Reuse: Drivers, Innovations and Public Perceptions, was conducted by Water. desalination + reuse through an online questionnaire during the four weeks to 19 July 2017. In total, 347 respondents participated in the survey.

With thanks to IDA board director Nikolay Voutchkov, and Abraham Negaresh, senior process engineer at WRc plc, for their expertise and support in shaping this research project.

Download your free copy of the research report.