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Roughly half the states in the U.S. are currently experiencing a form of drought, ranging in intensity from abnormally dry to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. When drought conditions become severe, which is the case for the plains and western states, local government responds with mandates to conserve water. For example, in Wichita Falls, Texas, the entire city's water supply is now being recycled and reused. In California and Washington, residents and industrial facilities alike are under a statewide mandate to conserve water, and governors are calling for permanent behavior changes from residents.

Response to drought situations is one of the top 3 reasons why manufacturers recycle and reuse their industrial wastewater. Manufacturing facilities require large volumes of water to make their products, and they purchase that water from the city. When there isn't enough water to go around, these facilities face higher water costs. Most significantly, however, they face production losses and downtime when they don't have access to the water they need.

In the midst of a drought, requirements may be handed down to manufacturers for implementing a reuse solution or reducing their consumption by a certain percentage. This requirement may be from their corporate offices in order to mitigate losses if the situation persists, or it may come directly from the governor. Either way, the midst of a drought is not too late for implementing a wastewater recycling system. The startup of the system, however, could be delayed significantly if there isn't a sufficient amount of water available for the initial startup. This has been the case at facilities in drought areas such as Texas, where the manufacturer waits months before they have access to the volume of water they need to operate their wastewater treatment equipment.

California Drought

In areas like California, Texas, and more recently Washington state, the motivations for a long-term conservation and reuse process is high because they are currently experiencing the pain that a lack of water causes. the best time to implement a wastewater recycling system, however, is before drought conditions become severe. While the motivations at that time are less urgent, manufacturers are recognizing that the investment now will mitigate the risks later. Manufacturing facilities in states near the most severely dry states are already heeding the warning and taking action now in case the drought situation elevates in their area.

The long-term drought conditions that we're seeing are not limited to reservoirs that feed water directly into cities. The more severe problem is the depletion of groundwater that is pumped out to make up for the lack of water in the reservoir. Manufacturers recognize this as a risk factor for future production. The only way to guarantee they have the water they need is to recycle the water they do have access to. Industrial water recycling systems offer peace of mind and drastically reduce the volume of water that is consumed by a facility (this also saves money). Instead of consuming 100s of thousands of gallons of water daily, they may take in 100s of gallons weekly or even less frequently than that (to replace the concentrated water that can no longer be reused). Some facilities are even recycling their gray water and reusing it back into their manufacturing process. An Alcoa facility in Texas, for example, is installing a natural (NEWT) system that will remove biological contaminants from their gray water and then feed that treated water to their industrial water reuse system, which feeds water back into their manufacturing process. The water issue isn't a new one, and it is only becoming worse. The manufacturers who respond now will not only alleviate stress for themselves but also alleviate stress on the water resources in their area.

ProChem strives to help their customers establish the highest level of credibility and a positive reputation within the regulatory community. Their goal is to significantly reduce the amount of fresh water that manufacturers require by providing sustainable solutions that will also benefit the customer’s bottom line.