Recycling and reuse ‘key’ to water scarcity

More and more communities are facing acute water scarcity issues - but this can be addressed through better recycling and reuse according to a white paper published by one of the world's biggest companies.

GE Water and Process Technologies, part of General Electric, highlighted the successful policies being used in water scarce regions around the world.

Addressing Water Scarcity Through Recycling and Reuse said policies fall into four main categories – education, barrier removal, incentives and mandates – which policymakers can choose from to use in their own areas.

These include awards schemes, lifting tough inspection requirements on recycled water and providing direct subsidies.

“Policymakers are looking for ways to expand water recycling and reuse initiatives, but until now finding information on how best to do that was tough,” said Jeff Garwood, president and CEO of GE Water & Process Technologies.

“By providing a menu of policy tools ranging from less intensive mechanisms, like public outreach programs, to more proactive, regulatory approaches, our paper will help governments, communities and businesses effectively evaluate their options.”

GE has also announced its own commitment to reduce its fresh water use by 20% by 2012.

Bosses said it was one of the world’s most aggressive corporate water targets to date and it is expected to free up 7.4m cubic metres of fresh water a year – enough to fill more than 3,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Water technologies and process efficiencies are planned at more than 100 company facilities to meet the target.

GE said it is also using the same water-saving solutions to help reduce municipal, industrial and agricultural customers’ “water footprints”.

Kate Martin

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