Sustainable Water Usage

Sustainable water means a nation that can be water self-sufficient: ensuring there is enough water to meet multiple needs, from agriculture to municipal and industrial. It also means water supply will remain consistent, despite climate change impacts, such as a lack of rainfall and drought, or too much rain and being flood resilient. Sustainable water also means that the economics stack up in matching supply and demand and the water delivery process is as efficient as possible. Water sustainability, meanwhile, can also mean energy neutrality by coupling traditional water treatment technologies with renewable energies. The following article is designed to provide everything you need to know about sustainable water.


What is water sustainability?

Sustainable water management means the ability to meet the water needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. Achieving sustainable water management requires a multidisciplinary and holistic approach in which technical, environmental, economic, landscape aesthetic, societal and cultural issues are addressed.

On a global scale, having sustainable water means to provide each person on the planet with affordable access to the minimum 20 to 50 litres of daily water required to sustain life. This follows the United Nations General Assembly recognition of “the right to safe and cleaning drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights”.

Water sustainability also means effective and holistic management of water resources. There are now multiple demands on water resources, which drive the need for sustainable, integrated and holistic water management.

UK regulator Ofwat describes ‘Sustainable water’ as: “A sustainable water cycle in which we are able to meet our needs for water and sewerage services while enabling future generations to meet their own needs.”

For water utilities, this can mean effective planning for water and wastewater systems to manage their operations and infrastructure and ensure the sustainability of the communities they serve, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US. The Agency said the benefits of considering sustainability during infrastructure planning include: