Pacific Institute | January 26th, 2023
Across the United States, urban communities face growing water challenges, from water scarcity to flooding, pollution, aging water infrastructure, and more. These challen
Across the United States, urban communities face growing water challenges, from water scarcity to flooding, pollution, aging water infrastructure, and more. These challenges present risks, but also an opportunity to rethink how we manage water, including adopting circular approaches in new buildings that reduce their water footprint and improve urban water resilience. Onsite water systems, for example, collect, treat, and reuse water from onsite sources, including wastewater, rainwater, and stormwater, for non-potable water uses like toilet flushing, outdoor irrigation, and cooling.
Onsite water systems have the potential to provide multiple benefits for a site, water and wastewater systems, ecosystems, and communities. They can, for example, help companies mitigate water- related risks, like water shortages that threaten to disrupt business operations, and support corporate water stewardship goals. For communities, onsite water systems can enhance water supply reliability, improve water quality, reduce localized flooding, and increase urban green space. The realization and magnitude of benefits will vary with the type of system, scale of adoption, and other context-specific factors.
This guide helps site developers consider how onsite water systems can be planned, designed, and operated to provide multiple benefits, and contribute to planning and designing onsite water systems that advance water resilience, support equity, support the environment, and protect public health at the site, water system, and community scales. For each of these outcomes, the guide provides sample questions to consider, stakeholders to engage, resources to examine, and analyses to perform.