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Session 26A: Reuse
8:00am - 8:45am
Guiding Regional Reuse Options – A Distributed Systems Approach
California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA); email@example.com
Water reuse can be achieved through both centralized and onsite systems for non-potable and potable uses. With several reuse options available, utilities can apply a distributed systems approach, defined as a regionally optimized combination of water reuse, to produce an effective “fit-for-community” reuse strategy. The California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA), made up of 11 major water utilities in California, conducted research to understand the compatible system characteristics for reuse strategies. CUWA has led the development of a fact sheet that informs that distributed systems approach, which detail considerations around policy, community, environment, economics, operations, and treatment.
Case studies were conducted to understand the decision-making process of utilities that are evaluating water reuse. For example, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) optimized their regional reuse through a distributed systems approach. The west side of SF is home to large irrigation customers like the Golden Gate park. To capitalize on economies of scale, SFPUC is building a centralized recycled water plant to serve them. The east side of SF is more densely developed with fewer contiguous areas that could benefit from centralized infrastructure. In 2015, SF passed an ordinance requiring new development with footprints > 25,000 square feet to meet their own non-potable reuse needs through onsite reuse. With much of the City’s development boom captured under the ordinance, SFPUC found that recycled water demands were largely addressed on the east side.
This work also details the importance of expanding green building certification rating systems, like LEED, to include all sustainable reuse options. A building can employ multiple strategies to increase their water efficiency, and developers tend to opt for onsite reuse. However, LEED offers water efficiency credits for any type of alternative water source, including centralized reuse, and clarification of the rating criteria can improve awareness of this opportunity.
This work is intended to start a conversation with utilities, policy makers, and developers on what is considered sustainable in a given community. This presentation will provide an overview of the favorable system characteristics for each reuse strategy and summarize the key takeaways for stakeholders.
8:45am - 9:30am
Formalizing the Role of Urban Water Agencies in Distributed Water Infrastructure
This submission continues a conversation from the latest edition of WE&T here.
Distributed water infrastructure projects, also called decentralized, onsite or hybrid, are emerging across the Pacific Northwest. Development of these systems is driven by private sector interest, but also government agency sustainability initiatives. These systems, designed for household, building or district scale, aim compact the efforts of traditional municipal waterworks to avoid the need for collection and conveyance. Major cities across the Pacific Northwest have projects underway that reuse rainwater and wastewater, and even generate fresh water from alternative sources.
Distributed water infrastructure brings a new paradigm to water system development and planning. The knowledge of local water agencies and professionals is often underutilized among the current stakeholder groups of developers, sustainable building groups, technology vendors and public health departments. The public interest would be better served by further collaboration between Pacific Northwest water agencies and the groups developing these projects. In the few cases where municipalities have taken a bold view of the future and adopted legislation for these systems, collaboration is mandated, and cross-benefits readily found.
Water utility professionals are well-suited for the review and approval of new distributed technologies, with the importance of reliability and safety being elevated beyond standard water infrastructure. Several case studies will be reviewed where such collaboration has been facilitated and prioritized by water agencies, to the benefit of new infrastructure developers, technology vendors, serviced ratepayers, and the public health. By taking an active role on behalf of the public, water agencies ensure a seat at the table in this infrastructure development of the future.
9:30am - 10:15am
Strategically Balancing Effectiveness and Implementation of Water Reuse Options to Manage Water Consumption
Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) operates and maintains around 485 parks over 6,414 acres across the City of Seattle including swimming pools, wading pools, golf courses, spray parks, community centers, and other recreational facilities. SPR was started in 1884 and has continued to increase the open space and facilities available to the public since then. As part of ongoing operations and maintenance, SPR has seen their cost for potable water increase because of three reasons: 1) increase in potable water prices and 2) longer and more intense irrigation seasons due to more frequency drought conditions, and 3) rapid population growth in Seattle since 2010. As SPR desires to continue to use local resources sustainably and reduce long-term operations cost, this Study had three main objectives to help achieve these desires: 1) to assess the effectiveness of SPR’s existing water reuse and conservation systems and 2)to evaluate other reuse and conservation systems that SPR could implement, and 3) to determine a high-level implementation plan for the reuse and conservation systems examined to decrease long-term operations and maintenance cost. This Study analyzed and scored various systems for water reuse and conservation (including recycled water, grey water, stormwater and pool water) based on the systems’ effectiveness (ability to meet the Study objectives such as decreasing water use and decreasing reliance on potable water) and ease of implementation (level of effort needed to implement a specific system). Based on the analysis and evaluation, the water reuse and conservation systems were broken into categories to assist with focusing efforts for implementation.