Testing the Climate for Non-Potable Water Reuse: Opportunities and Challenges in Water-Scarce Urban Growth Corridors

Anne Browning-Aiken, Kerri Jean Ormerod, Christopher A. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This paper examines the opportunities and constraints of increasing water reuse in arid urban areas experiencing rapid population growth. Limited availability of additional water resources raises the attractiveness of reclaiming wastewater to meet increased demands for water. The need for change in water management can be viewed as an essential part of the trend towards water or natural resource governance with its recognition of the need for broader regional participation in addressing water demand problems. Using an urban case study from southwestern USA Sun Corridor in Arizona, we explore the drivers for increased use of reclaimed water, the relationship between growth and reuse, and seek to understand these unfolding processes from an applied new regionalism perspective. Through semi-structured interviews with water managers and planners, we elicit the current and planned uses of reclaimed water, and through community surveys, we investigate public willingness to increase water reuse. We explore the challenges-specifically with institutional design, water policy, and contested regionalisms-to increased use of reclaimed water in the portfolios managers use to meet overall water demand. Finally, by comparing the approaches of other arid urban areas to Arizona's, we identify steps to better integrate water planning initiatives to address potential competition and conflict for reclaimed water in water-scarce regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-275
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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