Wastewater Recycling: Public Relations for a Controversial Technology

By Ken Shotts, David Hoyt, Ashish Jhina
2012 | Case No. P73

A reliable, safe, supply of drinking water is essential to the survival of communities. In many places the water supply is under stress—a condition that is expected to get progressively more challenging in the future. There are several ways that municipalities can improve their drinking water supply, including conservation, purchases from external suppliers, desalination, and recycling. Recycling wastewater into potable water is attractive in many situations. However, this alternative has not always been successful—in some cases, public opposition has defeated recycling plans, while public concerns have been successfully addressed in others. This case gives an overview of water supply issues and examples of successful and unsuccessful attempts to implement recycling programs. Programs in Singapore and Orange County, California are profiled as examples of successful recycling efforts, while failures in San Diego, California, and Toowoomba, Australia are described. 

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