The WateReuse Association is the only trade association in the US solely dedicated to advancing laws, policy, funding and public acceptance of recycled water. Established in California in 1990, WateReuse now has members in 38 US states and 11 countries who are developing safe, reliable, locally controlled water supplies. The Recycled Water User Network™ was created as a members-only network for businesses, governments and nonprofit organizations that use recycled water. As Executive Director of the WateReuse Association, Patricia Sinicropi discusses water sustainability and resiliency, and the role Digital Realty plays in its progress. Sinicropi leads WateReuse in engaging members and leveraging relationships with other stakeholders to build support for water recycling. She has over two decades of experience as a policy expert and advocate on water-related issues in Washington, DC.
As the only trade association dedicated to advancing all aspects of recycled water, how do you make progress happen?
The WateReuse Association represents a vast community of water reuse thought leaders, scientists and practitioners that share best practices and form a unified voice for advocacy on policies that support water reuse. Our membership includes nearly 250 utilities that incorporate water recycling into their water management strategies to ensure a resilient water supply for over 70 million people in US. We now have members in several other countries as well.
We engage our members and leverage relationships with other stakeholders to build support for laws, policy and funding that facilitate more widespread adoption of water recycling. We also develop tools and resources to educate water professionals, businesses that use water in their operations, and the public on the value of recycled water. Today’s technology allows us to treat any source of water to a quality sufficient for any end use, including drinking, irrigation, industrial processes, groundwater replenishment, and environmental restoration.
With time spent working with government entities, what are the latest developments in water recycling to be aware of for anyone interested in water recycling, specifically in the data center industry?
In August 2021, the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan infrastructure legislation, the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which will invest $1 billion in five years in water recycling programs for the Western United States. Of that, $550 million will go to the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse grants program, with $450 million available through a new grant program for large-scale water recycling projects.
Our Association worked closely with specific congressional champions to secure this funding.
This is an historic investment in water recycling, compared to the roughly $65 million per year appropriated to Bureau of Reclamation water reuse programs previously.
This new legislation also contains a second WateReuse priority—the creation of a federal Interagency Working Group on Water Reuse, which we developed the proposal for, ushered through earlier legislation and into the bipartisan package. The Group will break down silos, leverage resources throughout the federal family and facilitate stakeholder engagement on water recycling.
Digital Realty was the first member to join the WateReuse Recycled Water User Network, can you tell us more about that and the networking arm of the trade association?
At WateReuse, member engagement is key to our success. We provide a community for those involved with recycled water to share best practices and advocate for supportive policies. Our goal with the Recycled Water User Network (RWUN) is to create opportunities for water agencies to engage with recycled water users and for businesses that use recycled water to engage with each other. The RWUN is open to businesses, governments, and nonprofit organizations that utilize recycled water for operations, including customers of water utilities and businesses that recycle water onsite within their facilities.