In an upcoming article from the August issue of Water Technology, Dr. Joseph Cotruvo notes how much the municipal water industry has expanded over the last 40 years.

“It (municipal water industry) has become much better educated in the science and technology of water provision and much more sensitive to public concerns,” educates Cotruvo. “Technologies like ozonation, membranes and granular carbon that were unheard of then in American water have now become routine. Analytical methods like GC/MS, inductively couple plasma emission spectroscopy are widely used.”

With that, we begin to look at where municipalities will go from here.

Cotruvo brings up a great question that should definitely be considered in the future: Does it really make sense to be producing millions of gallons of water per day at higher and higher quality, then shipping it through many miles of pipe to a consumer for drinking?

The point being, millions of gallons of water is ran through a treatment system each day before being sent to homes and businesses. Cotruvo says that less than 1 percent of those water supplies are actually used for drinking or cooking.

So why should so much time and money be spent treating water that is never going to be consumed, but is mostly used for flushing, watering and washing? Is there a way for municipalities to create a separate form of treatment strictly for water consumption?

This way more of the focus can be put on treating water that will be used for drinking or bathing, making it more environmentally friendly. And fewer resources will be wasted on water that we don’t directly come into contact with.

“Remote real time sensing of important quality parameters will be key to typical water supply operations, and particularly for the greater introduction of potable water reuse applications,” says Cotruvo. “Water availability is already the most important threat in many parts of the world, so water reuse will become more and more prevalent.”