The Case for Tripple R Water Recycling™

Tripple R Water Recycling™


A Shrinking Supply

 Water is a finite, scarce natural resource without a substitute.  Under normal circumstances, only a tiny fraction of all water on Earth is fresh and available. Fully 97.5% of the Earth’s water is salty, and most fresh water is either frozen in glaciers or icecaps, or situated underground. As a result, less than 1% of all water on earth is both fresh and easily accessible.

Several factors threaten this fragile supply of fresh water.  First and foremost, pollution and contamination are a significant threat to supplies.  The practice of harvesting the groundwater supply beyond its natural rate of replenishment is also taking its toll. Water is not always located where it is needed most.  It is home to 22% of the world’s population, although China has only 8% of the entire fresh water in the world.  Also, analysts expectIndia’s demand for urban water to double by2025.  In North America,Canadahas 10 times more water resources than theU.S.on a per-capita basis.

In theU.S., the population is migrating gradually toward warmer, drier regions, such as the southwest. In 2007, the Census Bureau announced that seven of the 10 most populous cities were located within 500 miles ofMexico.  Many of those areas are historically arid and water-starved.

Addressing the challenges related to an imbalanced water supply requires commitments from governments, communities, and companies.  Private companies and communities that can find ways to more efficiently use, reuse, and distribute water are vital to preventing future scarcity.  Private firms face responsibilities as well as opportunities to address these needs through both innovation and the implementation of best practices and new technologies.

The following information is derived from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, World Health Organization, ITT Industries, and Advanced Water Technologies, Inc. estimates.  Although the earth is 70% water, less than 1% is usable, with 97.5% of the world’s water being salt water and 2.5% fresh water, and most of the latter is trapped in polar icecaps.  Of the fresh water, only 8% is used towards human consumption and sanitation purposes, with the balance used for agricultural purposes (70%) and industrial applications (22%).  Today, 1.2 billion people, 20% of world’s population, lack adequate water purification systems and 2.4 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation.  A person normally needs 20 to 50 liters of water free from harmful contaminants each day.  80% of diseases in developing nations stem from consumption of and exposure to unsafe water, killing 25,000 people daily.  The total world water and processing market is estimated at $400 billion in 2007, and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.9% to $533 billion by 2013.  The global market for UV and ozone disinfection is estimated at $4.6 billion in 2007, and is expected to grow at a rapid CAGR of 13.7% to $10 billion by 2013.


Growing Demand in the U.S. and Around the World

Thanks to population growth and industrial expansion around the world, demand for water is rising at an alarming rate. The U.N. estimates that human water use, including industrial development and irrigation, increased at twice the rate of population growth in the 20thmcentury. In 2001, people consumed 54% of the world’s available fresh water. If water consumption continues to increase at a steady rate, population growth alone will account for the consumption of 70% of available fresh water by 2025.  And if consumption in emerging economies rises to the levels of that in developed economies, 90% of available water will be absorbed.



Economic growth is spurring improved standards of living in many areas. As a result, residents typically adopt a higher-calorie diet that includes more meat and poultry. Raising cows and chickens requires more water than growing fruit or vegetables.  The combination of a growing population, rising standards of living, and limited freshwater supplies is creating water stress in countries such asIndiaandChina- although theU.S.,Mexico, and some European countries are experiencing water stress as well.

Unparalleled Challenge and Opportunity in Water

Climate change is exacerbating the freshwater supply problem. Changes in climatic variables such as temperature and precipitation will alter the hydrological cycle. Climate change is affecting runoff and evaporation patterns as well as the quantity of water found in glaciers, snow packs, lakes, wetlands, soil, and ground water.

A warming planet poses a particular threat to Earth’s largest reserve of fresh water glaciers.  Rising temperatures are accelerating glacial melt, and a disappearance of this freshwater source would have catastrophic effects on ecosystems, power generation, and freshwater supplies for many people.

Several key drivers contribute to the demand for water related Technologies need continue to develop these technologies. These key drivers include:

  • Limited supply of clean fresh water to meet human, industrial and commercial demand.
  • Rapid destruction of this scarce critical commodity by pollution not only in theU.S. but especially inChina andIndia among other emerging countries.
  • Global warming disrupts weather patterns causing drought and desertification randomly.
  • Insufficient and dilapidated infrastructure.  Developed countries are struggling to maintain their aging infrastructure.  According to the EPA, theUS alone with its 700,000 miles of water pipes (more than 4 times the length of the National Highway System) needs to spend over $250 billion over the next 30 years for infrastructure work. China alone, in its recent 5-year plan, cited $128 billion of essential water infrastructure improvements.  This does not account for the industrial, commercial needs, or the future requirements resulting from catastrophic destruction and decay.
  • Global water usage has increased six-fold since the last century, drawing from an unchanged, limited water supply.  People are demanding more water, and demanding more water than the available supply, particularly in connection with exponential population growth into water stressed areas ofChina and the simultaneous increase of affluence demonstrated by close to 300 million people achieving middle class status inChina in the last decade.  The increased population consumes more water and more affluent people consume or cause to consume significantly more water.
  • 55% more food is required to feed the growing population.  Irrigation already claims nearly 70% of all freshwater currently in use globally.  There is water content in every item of food; For example, 1,900 liters of water is needed to produce 1 Kg of rice,
  •  15,000 liters of water produces 1 Kg of beef, 2,400 liters in a hamburger, 4,000 liters of water in a cotton T-shirt, and 8,000 liters of water in a leather shoe.[1]
  • Increasing stringent regulatory environment.  The Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act have increased monitoring and removal requirements for newly discovered hazardous minerals, like selenium and perchlorate, and bacteria in theUnited States.  The China Ministry of Health recently announced 71 new standards to monitor for microbe content, organic matter and disinfectants.
  • Increasing awareness and perception of an impending water crisis as reflected by news and the internet and the financial/business world. 
  • Freshwater consumption drives demand for water treatment and water delivery systems.  For every kilogram of beef consumed there is an additional need for 15,000 liters of water.  Through 2013, worldwide meat consumption is projected to grow at a compound growth rate of 2.4% per year: increasing from 271 million tons per year in 2007 to approximately 313 million tons per year in 2013.  Meat consumption in China is projected to grow at a similar annual rate: increasing from 64 million tons per year in 2007 to 71 million tons per year in 2013[2].

The data below shows the % of the world’s water as compared to the % of the world’s population for the major geographies. North Americahas 15% of the world’s fresh water for only 8% of the world’s population. Chinahas only 7% of the world’s fresh water for 21% of the world’s population.



% of the world’s fresh water

% of the world’s population

North America



South America















Subset of Asia: China



Subset of Asia: India



Source: UN Educational, Scientific & Cultural Org/Int’l Health Programs.


The Chinese government has recognized the need for more focused attention and action on resolving water issues.  The government’s most recent 5 year plan budgets 1 trillion RMB (roughly US$125B) towards water infrastructure projects with several targets for 2010; 1) reducing chemical oxygen demand and sulphur diozide emissions by 10%, from 2005 levels; 2) ensuring every city has wastewater treatment plants; 3) raising urban wastewater treatment rates to above 70%; and 4) achieving urban wastewater treatment capacity of 100m tons/day.  (Source: CIMB: Water Treatment and Services, July 3, 2008)

  • InChina, 53% of the rivers, 50% of the lakes and 35% of the aquifers are classified as polluted.
  • Nine ofChina’s ten largest cities have unfit drinking water.
  • An estimated 80% of the raw sewage inChina’s ten largest cities is not treated.
  • Many sectors ofChina’s water system should see 20%+ growth over the next several years.

(Source: Goldman Sachs: Americas: Multi-Industry, The Essentials of Investing in the Water Sector; version 2.0, March 24, 2008)


The Water Industry.  Current water collection, purification and delivery systems in theU.S. andChina are outdated and depend on technologies used for decades and centuries.  The water industry in theU.S.,China and globally is fragmented.  Discreet technologies are being developed in universities, by governments and by private industry.  Water purification and delivery systems are operated by individual municipalities and business enterprises for their own consumption.  Components of the water systems purchased by these customers are generally manufactured and distributed by niche players.  There is very little coordination among market participants and few companies have emerged to offer industry-wide, vertically integrated solutions.

The water industry can be classified into the following sectors:


Sectors Description

Total Market

($ billion)

U.S Market

($ billion)

Water and Waste Water Treatment Equipment and service to treat water pollutants



Industrial Water Treatment Equipment, services and chemicals



Valves Control of direction, pressure or rate of water flow



Infrastructure Pipes, fittings, hydrants, meters and service equipment



Pumps Primarily for flow controls



Filtration Water treatment applications for disinfection, ozone reduction, carbon reduction and environmental control



Residential Water Treatment Water quality enhancement to minimize damage to plumbing and appliances



Engineering and Consulting Engineering, planning and operations assistance



Desalination Elimination of salt for municipal and industrial uses



Water Test Instruments to analyze chemical properties in water



Automation Services Process control software



(Source: Goldman Sachs: Americas: Multi-Industry, The Essentials of Investing in the Water Sector; version 2.0, March 24, 2008)

These factors offer significant opportunities to consolidate disparate technologies and distribution systems and to achieve economies of scale in the development and delivery of clean water services to commercial customers in theU.S.and Chinese markets.  The trend towards consolidation in the water sector over the next five to ten years is expected to lead to a global water oligopoly.  The consolidation has started among the leading equipment manufacturers, including GE and Siemens, and service companies like Veolia andSuez.

The industry is expected to undergo more convergence of the business models seen with traditional large equipment manufacturers and service providers, which will then be capable of offering vertically integrated, turnkey solutions.  (Source: Goldman Sachs: Americas: Multi-Industry, The Essentials of Investing in the Water Sector; version 2.0, March 24, 2008)

In meeting today’s challenges in the global water demand and supply for future generations is a significant challenge for any Government and for the water industry globally.  Although water scarcity is an issue of critical importance in drier and agricultural areas, calling into question the longevity of a water supply that is threatened by droughts, consumption patterns and continued population growth.  Delivering potable water to the cities is becoming a critical issue.  With increasing water demand and shrinking supply has created a need to develop water reuse, or Water Technology.  The process of Water Technology offers an essential, viable and drought-proof solution for managing our critical water resources.

Background: Applications and Treatment

The Water Technology recycling process is a natural reoccurring process, with advancements in treatment technologies; water can be recycled more efficiently to meet our needs.  Water Technology can be accomplished by several different methods and depending on applications of the planned reuse will determine the amount of filtration and handling of supply for potability.  Water Technology is a term describing the reclamation, treatment and recycling of wastewater or storm water collected from homes, commercial buildings and industrial facilities.  Water polishing is the term used to complete the water treatment process to potable water for consumption.  Drinking water is only one (1%) percent of the water consumed.  As such tremendous opportunity lies in Water Technology for a variety of other non-potable purposes.

Water Technology is used in three main ways:  (1) non-potable (non drinking) which involves taking treated wastewater to use for agriculture and landscaping irrigation, industrial use, toilet flushing and fire protection; (2) Water Technology is already a widely accepted practice that will continue to grow, and indirect potable reuse is becoming a favored method over discharging water back to the source; (3) Water Technology for potable use and drinking water.

The Process of Water Technology for Drinking Water

The international standard for recycling water into potable water is a three-stage process that combines physical, biological and chemical means.

The First stage, known as primary treatment, removes large physical debris, grit and sediment.

The Second stage of treatment uses biological processes to remove remaining contaminants. Populations of bacterial microorganism’s breakdown organic material within the water, consuming it like food.

The Third stage of the process, known as advanced treatment, prepares the water for reintroduction into fresh water supplies. Sand filters and disinfectants are used to remove any remaining bio-organism and chlorine from the water, before releasing it back into water reservoirs as ‘effluent’.

Water ‘Polishing’ For the Home and Office

The First stage is accomplished through filtration with a micro filtration to remove particles from the pantry area sink.

The Second stage is Charcoal filtration and with filter media before reverse osmosis.  Reverse osmosis sees the water passed through a semi-permeable membrane to remove microscopic bacteria and debris.

The Third stage water is then purified with ultraviolet disinfection and micro filter with media, making far more pure drinking water.

Embracing new technologies to sustain water demands with Water Technology . is what precisely the world will benefit from.


As discussed in this outline, Water Technology will play an increasingly important role in safeguarding our long-term global water supply as demand as the population grows.  While Water Technology use cannot solve scarcity issues alone, it is an essential part of a sustainable approach toward water resource management.

[1]   Sources:  “The Case for Water Investing – 2007” by John Dickerson and Rob Anfuso, Summit Global Management Inc.

[2]  Sources:  Feed Market Analysis Report, Potash Corp; OECD; FAO; Brilliant Pioneer Consultants