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Testing the (recycled) Water

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recently released a report showing that small scale efforts are having a big impact on overall water use in the United States.

According to the report, water consumption in the US in 2015 dropped about 9 percent from 2010. It seems that water conservation efforts – from low-flush toilets and higher efficiency appliances to water reuse initiatives – are having a positive effect on our water supply, despite a four percent population increase over the same period.

This is especially true in drought-prone California, where according to the USGS, the state accounts for 11 percent of all water withdrawals in the United States -the largest consumer of total water in the US. Total water use combined with the arid nature of the state, makes the sustainable use of recycled water an obvious choice. The California State Water Board encourages the use of recycled water with public relations efforts and policy. The Policy for Water Quality Control for Recycled Water (Recycled Water Policy) was first adopted in 2009 and amended in 2013. The policy provides guidance to municipal wastewater sources to encourage the use of recycled water in accordance with state and federal regulations. 

Testing for E. coli, total and fecal coliforms, and enterococci depends on the intended use of treated water. The use of Colilert®, Colilert-18®, and Enterolert® are EPA-approved for environmental discharge to lakes, rivers and the ocean. Recycled water used for irrigation, cooling towers and industrial use are covered under California Title 22. Because of the complexity of testing regulations, IDEXX has created this handy infographic to help decipher the policy - to request a printable PDF of this infographic, please contact water@idexx.com and we would be happy to send one out to you. 

The 2015 USGS report also includes a nifty interactive map that shows the total water use in the US broken down by state and withdrawal type: thermoelectric, irrigation, public water supply and industrial. Did you know that thermoelectric and irrigation water combined account for 78% of the total water consumption in the US? However, the East coast is dominantly thermoelectric, while the West coast is just the opposite and irrigation water use is dominant. Interesting stuff!

Sources:  US Geological Survey, www.usgs.gov and California Water Boards, www.waterboards.ca.gov



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