Amidst growing water scarcity and concern about the future availability and quality of water, a GE consumer survey has indicated that Americans strongly support reusing water to help the US drive economic competitiveness and protect the environment. The survey has revealed that 2/3 of Americas feel positive about water reuse. The survey also reports that Americans also think that industry and government should play a stronger role in making water reuse a priority.
Reuse is a solution
‘Population growth, rapid industrialisation and accelerated urbanisation are driving the need for water reuse,’ said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO, GE Power & Water. ‘The survey, which we developed to get a better understanding of the awareness and barriers to adoption of water reuse, revealed stronger support for water recycling than we expected. It shows that the vast majority of Americans understand the value of water reuse.’
The majority of Americans are not convinced by the ‘toilet to tap’ recycling of water, however, more than 80% of Americans surveyed indicated that they would support a ‘toilet to turf’ initiative for activities that require significant amounts of non-potable water, such as agriculture, irrigation, power generation, landscaping, industrial processing and manufacturing, toilet flushing and car washing.
At the moment nearly 20% of the world’s freshwater resources are used for industrial purposes and nearly 70% for agriculture. Large industries (74%), agriculture (69%) and utilities and power companies (67%) were seen as most responsible for contributing an ‘extreme amount’ or ‘quite a bit’ to water scarcity.
Americans also see the connection between energy and water, more than 86% understand that energy is needed to deliver water and more than 74% are aware that water is needed to create energy. Americans expect energy industry leaders to demonstrate water stewardship by using recycled water to produce electricity. Around 84% said smart water management can help the US more efficiently create and use energy and nearly 87% American are in favour of using recycled water for power generation, more than any other application.
Policy, innovation and education
Americans are looking to national government to take the lead to advance water reuse. 84% of Americans believe protection of water resources should be a national priority. However, American’s are willing to do more than just call on the national government; they will open their pocketbooks as well. Nearly half would immediately pay more, 12% on average, to ensure that future generations will be less vulnerable.
Adapted from press release by Claira Lloyd.