Facing growing challenges with freshwater availability, people throughout the world are focusing on new ideas for conserving water resources. Here are five trends that will play a significant factor in the future of water conservation.

Tap with dropletsWater Recycling
According to the 2012 United Nations World Water Development Report, 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is not collected or treated. However, severe freshwater shortages in some areas is driving governments to develop water recycling programs that produces water that is clean enough to drink. In fact, Singapore’s wastewater recycling program uses advanced techniques that produces water clean enough to be bottled.

Although it is expensive and energy intensive, governments from San Diego to Dubai are investing billions of dollars in ocean water desalination. The introduction of membrane-based desalination has increased the affordability and decreased the energy requirements. As of 2013, Dubai was sourcing over 98% of its potable water supply from desalination.

Overuse Fines
California made headlines in 2014 when they started imposing expensive fines to people caught wasting water. Offenses like allowing landscape watering to flow into streets and hosing driveways were subject to $500 fines. As water resources become more stressed, more local governments may start imposing fines to discourage water waste.

Efficient Irrigation Techniques
With farm irrigation amounting to about 70% of global freshwater use there is a lot of opportunity for farm water conservation. Irrigation systems that accurately measure usage with water flow meters can minimize overwatering which accounts for a significant amount of water waste. See our article “10 Water Conservation Tips for Farmers” for techniques that farmers are using to conserve water such as drip irrigation and low-energy spray irrigation.

Efficient Technology for Home Conservation
Although home water use accounts for a small percentage of total water consumption, new consumer tools for saving water are constantly being introduced. Toto recently released the Carlyle II 1G toilet that uses just one gallon of water per flush. The OrbSys Shower saves more than 90% of water by purifying the water that falls into the drain and then pumping it back through the showerhead.