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Water: Sustainable Infrastructure

Water Availability


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As water supplies are stressed by growing populations, the impacts of climate change and greater competition of resources, the need to leverage innovative technologies and alternative growing plantwater supplies continues to grow. The challenge for many is matching the quality of water with its intended use.

Many water systems use treated wastewater for irrigation or industrial uses where water does not need to be of drinking water quality. Some water systems treat wastewater to drinking water standards and store it underground before withdrawing it as a source of drinking water.

This page provides information and resources about approaches that water systems can use to address current and anticipated variability of source water quality and quantity.

Water Reuse

An increasing number of communities are viewing wastewater as a resource rather than a waste.

Aquifer Storage & Recovery

Artificial aquifer recharge (AR) is the enhancement of natural ground water supplies using manmade conveyances such as infiltration basins or injection wells. Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) is a specific type of AR practiced with the purpose of both augmenting ground water resources and recovering the water in the future for various uses. The type of water injected for ASR can include treated drinking water, surface water, stormwater, and treated wastewater effluent. The wells used to inject fluids are considered underground injection wells for the purpose of regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.


As source water becomes scarcer and treatment technology improves, desalination is becoming a more attractive option for some water systems. Desalination is an approach to treat and use seawater or brackish ground water (more common in the southwestern United States) to create a freshwater supply. Note that brackish and saline water filtration and treatment may produce large amounts of waste residuals that require proper disposal and should be considered when choosing desalination technologies.

Stormwater Management

Many communities are beginning to look at stormwater as a valuable resource that can be captured or injected into the ground to restore depleted aquifers. Solutions range from retention ponds, to rain barrels and cisterns, to a whole suite of strategies for infiltrating stormwater where it falls, rather than channeling it away through piped systems. 

Fostering these approaches in your community can reduce the demands on your drinking water system, extend the life of water supplies, and have numerous other environmental benefits. Find out more here:


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