Chinese people are more concerned about water quality and availability for future generations and show more interest in water reuse than their American and Singaporean counterparts, according to a new 3,000-person survey conducted by GE in partnership with StrategyOne.GE released the results of the water reuse survey on June 5.
“Population growth, rapid industrialization and accelerated urbanization are driving the need for water reuse,” said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO -- water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.
“The survey, which we developed to get a better understanding of the awareness water reuse issues, revealed much stronger support for water recycling than we expected. The survey results show that the vast majority of Chinese understand the value of water reuse.”
The survey found that 9 out of 10 Chinese respondents are concerned about the availability of clean water, and feel that everyone should be responsible for taking initiative to protect water resources for future generations. Some 95 percent viewed water resources protection as a national issue, and have expectations that the national government will lead the charge to resolve their water quality and scarcity issues.
They hold large industry, utilities, power companies and agriculture, the world’s largest water user, most responsible for an “extreme amount” or “quite a bit” of water scarcity issues, and about 90 percent of respondents are very supportive of those working to reduce their water use or reusing wastewater.
“China’s per capita water resources represent only one quarter of the world average. With rapid urbanization and industrialization, China will face increasing water challenges,” said Liping Lin, marketing director for Greater China in GE Power & Water’s water and process technologies segment.
The Chinese were also the most aware of the relationship between water and energy compared to Americans or Singaporeans, according to the survey results, with 93 percent of respondents saying they understood that it took energy to transport water and deliver to homes, and that water is required to produce energy.
Also, 92 percent understood that smart water management would reduce impact on energy’s future costs.
“GE sees water reuse as a critical solution to help combat water shortages in China and around the world and the technology needed to move toward that reality is available today,” said Markhoff. “We can deliver the advanced technology to efficiently treat, recycle and reuse water … We continue to invest millions of dollars every year in R&D to innovate more cost-effective and energy-efficient technologies to support a sustainable water future. The adoption of technology, combined with forward-thinking government policy and education, will be the key to overcoming barriers to water reuse.”
Water reuse is not a common practice in the United States, although some of the arid southwest states are looking at initiating such programs and trying to educate consumers about its benefits.
Singapore is currently the world’s largest consumer of reused water, obtaining some 40 percent of its water needs through the NEWater program.