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Quick Guide: Recycled Water


As fresh water supplies dwindle and the cost per gallon rises, we have to be vigilant about how much we use and how we use water. One way to conserve fresh water is to use alternative water  sources like rainwater, air conditioning condensate, stormwater run-off and recycled water for landscape irrigation. Initiatives such as the United States Green Building Council’s LEED Program are driving the use of alternative water sources and the development of more efficient irrigation systems.  

Much like the air we breathe, fresh water is something many of us take for granted. We assume it will always be there in plentiful supply when we turn on the shower, the dishwasher or the faucet on the sink. However, the truth is that only one percent of the world’s water supply is now suitable for human consumption. To make matters worse, various droughts across the globe have created serious water shortages, even in areas that typically experience plenty of precipitation.

As a result landscape architects and contractors are designing and implementing more irrigation systems that use alternative water sources. However, the chemical composition of some of this water can pose public safety, liability and environmental concerns. Recycled water can also damage irrigation valves, rotors and sprays over time. Obviously, our industry is facing some significant challenges as fresh water supplies continue to decline and the demand for recycled water increases. To adequately address these concerns, irrigation system manufacturers and the professionals who purchase, design and install irrigation systems must partner with the policymakers who are shaping the future of recycled water use.

Recycled water use is not a trend that will quickly come and go. Future legislation and green building initiatives will continue to increase recycled water use and demand. This presents irrigation system manufacturers with an opportunity to promote premium, water-saving products to increasingly savvy customers. Some manufactures take a proactive stance by developing products specifically for use with recycled water. They plan to continue doing their part to encourage efficient irrigation by creating even more products for recycled water use in the future. This is important because effects of recycled water and chemicals used to maintain a recycled water line may leave a lasting irreversible effect on irrigation products.

Why Use Recycled Water

Reuse conserves water by matching water quality with water use. High-quality groundwater is reserved for drinking and bathing. Recycled water saves money because recycled water rates are less than local drinking water rates. Recycled water use helps assure that a community will have water supplies to meet their current and future needs. It will continue to make a positive impact on water landscape water use and due to the effects reclaimed water can have on your irrigation system it’s important to remember to use products designed and built for this specific purpose.

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Image Source: Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board

 

Richard Restuccia

Richard is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. Richard is a spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees. He served on the Irrigation Association’s Board of Directors. Richard also writes for other publications and is an award winning contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine. In 2014 his efforts were recognized with a “Leadership in Landscape” award. He has a great interest in the supply of clean water for people in developing countries and as an outdoorsman, spends his free time running, swimming and surfing.

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