Reclaiming Wastewater: Proposed New Regulations Treat Effluents as a Resource Not Something to be Wasted
Texas is taking bold steps to encourage water reuse. If the proposed rules changes are approved, they could signal increased beneficial use of a resource which has up until now been largely treated like a waste product. Still, there are some policy questions that need to be answered if reuse will become as successful as it can and should be. These include assessing the impact of reuse programs on return flows and guaranteeing that downstream flows will be protected, particularly in those regions where water is alreadly in short supply and those areas downstream of groundwater users. Texas also needs to resolve the issue of what constitutes beneficial reuse and what does not. Although there is a consensus that wastewater should no longer be wasted, the issue of whether irrigating cropland with effluents in land disposal programs is beneficial needs to be evaluated.