Residential water reclamation in Texas : can it work?

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Dent, Kelly McCaughey

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Although Texas is a water reclamation leader in the country for quantity of water reclaimed, it falls behind both California and Florida in residential applications. The concept of residential reuse has some barriers to overcome prior to implementation on a broad scale in Texas. The two case studies, St. Petersburg, Florida, and the El Dorado Irrigation District of El Dorado County, California, describe extensive reuse programs in response not only to impending water shortages but also to effluent disposal limitation requirements. Major factors that limit residential reuse in Texas include the following: cost, expediency and negative public perception. Two other considerations exist when determining the feasibility of implementing residential reuse: income level and irrigation needs. Most of the successful reuse programs examined were for higher income areas. Also, irrigation expectations and needs of the residences play a major factor in the success of the program. In arid environments planted with drought-tolerant plants, landscape irrigation becomes less of a priority. Further limitations that specifically affect Texas’ expanding its water reclamation programs include the legal issues of existing water rights and direct versus indirect reuse.



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