The Cost of Direct and Indirect Potable Water Reuse in a Medium Sized Arid Inland Community

Published Date:

April 2017


J Herman, C Scruggs


Planned potable water reuse can improve the reliability of water supplies by providing drinking water from wastewater. While the US government predicts near-term conflict over water in numerous small-to-medium-sized arid inland communities, knowledge gaps exist regarding the cost of potable reuse for this context, making it difficult for water managers to understand the feasibility of options. This research aims to inform decision-making about potable reuse in small-to-medium-sized arid inland communities by estimating the total present worth of several indirect and direct potable reuse treatment scenarios. We find that the present worth for indirect potable reuse is substantially higher than for direct potable reuse because of additional pumping and piping requirements, and scenarios including reverse osmosis for advanced treatment have significantly higher present worth values than those including ozone/biological activated carbon. Costs aside, any scenario must also be acceptable to regulators and the public and approvable from a water rights perspective.

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Water scarcity; indirect potable reuse; direct potable reuse; treatment costs; present worth; resource management; sustainable community planning;