Ditchmen • October 2018 - Page 32

Florida Emerging As Key U.S. Water Market

By Reese Tisdale, president, Bluefield Research

Water stress across the U.S. is taking on greater significance and Florida’s increasing pipeline of opportunities cannot be overlooked. In contrast to California, where policy-makers are currently grappling with demand-side mandates, Florida and its five water management districts are barreling ahead with a mix of alternative water solutions that could total more than US$17 billion of water related investments by 2025. The solutions, including wastewater treatment and reuse and public-private partnerships, are aimed at mitigating the impacts — salt-water intrusion into aquifers and environmental degradation — of a surging population that is forecasted to increase 23 percent from 2015 to 2040.

Wastewater reuse in Florida has been part of a concerted statewide effort for decades. Since 2008, wastewater reuse flows in Florida have increased 8 percent, reaching 2.7 million m3/d in 2013. While limited compared to global reuse leaders Israel and Singapore, where

reuse percentages top 30 percent,

the 2014 total places the state at the forefront of the U.S. wastewater reuse market. California and Texas rank second and third among states with 2.4 million m3/d and 1.6 million m3/d of flows, respectively. Looking forward, Bluefield’s analysis of more than 500 existing facilities and another 86 planned reuse projects in Florida, which alone could total over US$6 billion of investment, signal growth opportunities ahead.

The lion’s share of spend will be in Miami-Dade County, where policy makers plan to invest over US$13.4 billion in water and wastewater improvements. It is expected that 99 percent of spend will go towards

major upgrades and greenfield expansion, including US$5.1 billion

by 2020, 65 percent of which will go