Globally, the changing climate is challenging many communities to meet their current and long-term water needs as the primary driver of water scarcity. In the United States (US), an aging infrastructure, a rapidly growing population, and new challenges around financial investments and urbanization augment the stress on water supply sources and systems that have heretofore functioned as a continual and reliable supply of water to our communities. Therefore, there is a growing urgency to secure the nation’s water future by adopting a proactive approach to understand the barriers and enablers to water reuse across the nation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists water sustainability as one of their urgent national priorities in the face of growing water scarcity due to climate change. Water reuse is a highly viable option to offset this scarcity but has historically been met with significant institutional barriers which must be investigated and addressed to make water reuse a widely-accepted and adopted practice both within the U.S. and globally. Professors Amy Javernick-Will and Sherri Cook (Environmental), and PhD student Prakriti Sardana, will investigate barriers, facilitators, and pathways to water reuse as part of this four-year, $3.25 Million project, involving several teams working within the labs and with utilities to identify technologies and strategies for expanding water reuse nationally. We seek to understand water reuse from a holistic understanding of the sociological underpinnings of reuse adoption and expand our focus beyond the technological and environmental facets of reuse. 

Our scope of work on this project is to identify barriers and drivers to successful adoption of water reuse projects by

(1) conducting a systematic literature review;

(2) engaging expert panels to discuss and prioritize factors to study in case studies;

(3) collecting data and performing a cross case analysis across 12-15 projects in the US to determine which factors are associated with successful adoption of water reuse projects; and

(4) reconvening expert panels to validate and discuss our findings.

More information on the project and the grant, please visit the EPA website.


  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA); "Unlocking the Nationwide Potential for Water Reuse"