Institutional Incentives and Disincentives for Water Recycling and Reuse in the United States

by Stephen P. Shelton, Univ of Texas at El Paso, Dep of, Civil Engineering, El Paso, TX, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Development and Management Aspects of Irrigation and Drainage Systems


A complex set of legislative/regulatory, technological, water conservation, and economic factors operate to affect the degree of industrial wastewater reuse/recycle in the United States. The Federal Water quality program has been the central force in promoting water reuse/recycle in industry, and changes to this and related water programs have the potential to substantially affect the future of reuse in industry. Potentially significant disincentives to industrial wastewater reuse include state water rights allocation policy, public/agency apathy, the risk of innovation in a stressed economy, and possible energy use penalties. The nature of the incentives/disincentives for industrial wastewater reuse varies substantially by region and by industry segments. This paper develops a framework to more fully understand the variability in the incentives/disincentives structure to generate and evaluate policy options that will yield an accelerated pace for adaption of wastewater reuse/recycle.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Water reclamation | Recycling | Water resources | Water conservation | Industrial wastes | Legislation | Federal government | United States

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