Many of us use water inefficiently; we use more than we ought to for a given purpose and often for the wrong reason. Because of this, we are consuming much more water than nature can produce. Most of the freshwater in the world is replenished by rainfall and if rainfall trends in recent decades continue, we will run out of freshwater very soon. The situation is made worse by the fact that the world’s population will grow to 10 billion people in a few decades. So, what can we do to ensure we have enough fresh water for everyone? Recycle, of course!
Decentralized Water Recycling
Many of us understand water recycling as finding secondary or tertiary use for wastewater. While this is what we have been doing for decades, it is often done by corporations at a larger scale than any individual can sustain or at too small a scale to make an impact at an individual level. Decentralized water recycling is where recycling units are used to help recycle enough water for most of an individual’s or business’s uses. Decentralized water recycling units are now available for homeowners, hotels, commercial buildings, builders, and more to help sterilize wastewater and use it for other purposes.
Companies Are Already Working on These Units
Companies have been working on these units for a few years now and their main aim is to take the water filtration systems we may be used to and scale them up to come up with systems that filter, sterilize and help reuse water that would otherwise have gone to waste.
These systems start by removing particulate matter from the water. These include things like soap, dirt, and other pollutants that can easily be removed at this first stage. This step is usually done through processes such as aerobic bioreaction, floatation, sedimentation, foam fractionation, and more.
Once the water is sufficiently “clean”, disinfection is done using UV water filtration techniques. The water treated this way is then ready to reuse in gardens, toilets, pools, and in washing machines.
It is estimated that early models of such a system will be able to save over 20,000 gallons of water for an average-sized family per year. These units will also be equipped with the ability to switch to rainwater, mains, or even backup sources of water when there is not enough wastewater to be reused.
These systems will also require very little maintenance as they will need to be checked once every 3 to 4 years. Their installation costs will likely be very low too as they will be connected to the existing wastewater systems and require very little plumbing to get working.
Will the Water Be Safe to Drink?
UV water filtration has proven to be one of the most effective ways of removing pathogens from water and these systems use this filtration technique as the last step in the recycling process. Although companies claim that the water will be safe to drink, it is best to err on the side of caution until definitive studies are released.
With how much water we use and how scarce water is becoming, we have to look for new ways to reuse and recycle the little we already have. Luckily, there are companies working on systems that will help us do exactly that.