Non-potable reuse at the building scale can help communities reclaim, recycle, and then reuse water for non-drinking purposes, such as toilet flushing, clothes washing, and irrigation. Decisions about reuse depend on technology suitability, cost, and environmental considerations—all difficult to quantify and compare across broad geographic contexts and variable system configurations. To break through this barrier, the National Water Reuse Action Plan included a call for decision support tools for use in choosing non-potable reuse technologies.
ERG developed and launched NEWR, the Non-potable Environmental and Economic Water Reuse Calculator. NEWR can help identify environmentally effective, cost-effective options for onsite non-potable water reuse for any ZIP code in the United States based on user-chosen geography, building specifications, source water type, and end use. NEWR assesses screening-level metrics such as greenhouse gases, fossil-energy demand, water scarcity, and cost associated with the available non-potable reuse options. In addition to the calculator, ERG also co-wrote a manuscript for Water Research that uses NEWR simulations to assess the suitability of onsite non-potable reuse options across the entire United States. Cities across the country currently involved in non-potable reuse at the building scale beta-tested NEWR and provided valuable feedback, which ERG used to ensure the final version is applicable at the community scale. This work builds on other case-specific publications ERG has supported on non-potable reuse, some of which are available under “Research Publications” at the NEWR landing page.