Promoting Water Reuse through Partnership Programs: National Estuary Program and Urban Waters Partnerships Delivering on EPA’s Water Reuse Action Plan

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This report provides a snapshot of recent water reuse projects and initiatives that have been successful across some of the NEP and Urban Waters (UW) partnership locations. It illustrates the breadth of ongoing or completed activities that support implementation of EPA’s Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP). WRAP is an effort to advance consideration of water reuse to ensure security, sustainability and resilience of the Nation’s water resources. The examples and information provided in this report highlight some of the innovative ways that the NEP and UW programs have advanced safe and reliable water reuse systems while promoting healthy watersheds.

“Water reuse” is a broad term that generally includes concepts such as “recycled water,” “reclaimed water,” “alternative water supplies,” and “water resource recovery.” Water reuse initiatives can potentially link to municipal wastewater, industry processing or cooling water, stormwater runoff, or agricultural runoff and return water flows (to streams, rivers, etc.). Any of these sources of water are considered “reused” or “recycled” after they have been captured, treated and then tested as acceptable to meet standards for the appropriate end-use application. The WRAP seeks to promote water reuse consideration by identifying actions that will help communities, policymakers, practitioners, and other stakeholders match potential sources of reused water that can be provided at a quantity and quality needed to meet specific identified applications. Given the wide breadth of stakeholders involved in water resource management across the country, partnerships are a fundamental delivery mechanism in effectively and sustainably developing and implementing water reuse initiatives. This paper focuses on two successful partnership programs managed by the EPA’s Office of Water in a total of 48 partnership locations nationwide: the National Estuary Program (NEP) and the Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UW).