Fresh Take

Water bottle illustration

Illustration by Jenny Witte

Engineers at Iowa State are working to normalize and accelerate water reuse in rural communities. Water reuse is happening in small ways across the nation, especially in urban areas. But many still turn heads at the thought of drinking what used to be “unusable” water. Associate Professor Kaoru Ikuma leads the project, which involves researchers from the University of Rhode Island and the University of California Berkeley. “We call the tools we are creating a ‘windows of opportunity’ framework,” Ikuma says. “Suppose you introduce water reuse plans to smaller communities when their infrastructure is crumbling, and they know they have to do something about it. In that case, it is the perfect opportunity for them to think 50 or 100 years ahead and consider a non-traditional water reuse process.”