Developing a Methodology for Triple Bottom Line Comparisons of Water Supply Options Relative to DPR


  • Ben Stanford PhD, Alan Karnovitz PhD - Hazen and Sawyer

Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) is increasingly being considered as one of many possible water supply options for water utilities in various locations throughout the US. However, as with any new water supply, it needs to be considered vis-à-vis other technologies or solutions, including a ‘no action’ scenario to determine the true value and economic impact of that supply option. In order to improve public acceptance and stakeholder support, it is critical that such comparisons be completed in a transparent, publicly accessible manner to facilitate not only management-level decision making but also public engagement and education about the water supply options. This calls for a comprehensive and objective evaluation methodology for comparing alternative water supply options, which fits in nicely within a triple bottom line (TBL) framework.

As part of the WateReuse Research Foundation project 14-03, “Methodology for a Comprehensive Analysis (Triple Bottom Line) of Alternative Water Supply Projects Compared to Direct Potable Reuse”, we are developing a whole-system framework and computerized TBL tool from which to explore TBL evaluations of water supply options. The TBL framework provides an established, transparent accounting approach for concurrently quantifying economic, environmental, and social implications for any business decision or project.

The development of such a specialized TBL tool requires the parallel development of an appropriate methodology that goes beyond conventional practices, yet engages stakeholders in the process. While this project is relatively new to the WRRF DPR initiative, we will be presenting information related to our stakeholder workshops and a draft framework and approach that we are taking to develop the TBL software tool that will be available to Foundation Subscribers in late 2016. This presentation will be an opportune time for audience members to provide thoughts and feedback on the framework and approach as well.

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