Abstract for: A System Dynamics Approach for Urban Water Reclamation-Reuse Planning

More and more water utilities are employing water reclamation-reuse to supply reclaimed water for potable and non-potable uses, due to worldwide aggravating water shortages caused by growing urban community and climate change, more stringent wastewater effluent standards in prospect, as well as increasing availability of high-performing and cost-effective water reclamation. However, revenue recovery related with water reclamation-reuse remains an obstacle for many water utilities in the United States. A system dynamics model was created to simulate and optimize economic costs of urban water system as a whole (including drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment, and wastewater reclamation-reuse), accounting for future scenarios of population growth, economic development, and climate change. The model was applied to two U.S. municipal water systems located at water-abundant and water-scarce regions: Kalamazoo-Michigan and Tucson-Arizona. Simulation results indicate significant levels of water reuse, due to potential increases of water demand and delays of water/wastewater infrastructure building. The model also suggests that a decision to implement water reclamation-reuse can yield remarkably lower water withdrawals and lower system costs by reducing extra costs that would otherwise be caused by water scarcity and more stringent discharge requirements for wastewater effluents. In this sense, water reclamation-reuse is both environmentally and economically sustainable.