According to the EPA water recycling is reusing treated wastewater for purposes such as agricultural and landscape irrigation, industrial processes, toilet flushing, and replenishing a ground water basin. Wastewater treatment can be tailored to meet the water quality requirements of a planned reuse. Recycled water for landscape irrigation requires less treatment than recycled water for drinking water. A common type of recycled water is water that has been reclaimed from municipal wastewater, or sewage. Another type of recycled water is "gray water". Gray water is reusable wastewater from residential, commercial and industrial bathroom sinks, bath tub shower drains, and clothes washing equipment drains.
Accoding to the GE survey 66 percent of the American respondents responded positively to the concept of water reuse. More than 80 percent of the Americans surveyed said that they support using recycled water for “toilet-to-turf” uses such as agricultural irrigation, power generation, landscaping, industrial processing and manufacturing, toilet flushing and car washing. However, the majority of American respondents were hesitant about “toilet-to-tap” recycling,
The American respondents felt that the largest water users are most responsible for contributing to water scarcity. The respondents reported that those most responsible for water scarcity are large industries (74 percent), agriculture (69 percent) and utilities and power companies (67 percent).
The GE survey also reported that Americans are aware of the connection between energy and water. 86 percent reported that they understood that energy is required to deliver water. 74 percent said they are aware that water is needed to generate energy. To put this in context, half of all water withdrawals in the U.S. are used for electric power generation and about 3% of total electric power generated in the U.S. is used by the water industry, primarily for pumping. 87 percent of the American respondents said they support using recycled water for power generation, more than any other application of recycled water.
84 percent of the American respondents said that protection of water resources should be a national priority, meaning that the Federal government has a key role to play. Nearly half of the American respondents said they are williing to pay more, on average 12 percent more, to ensure that future generations will be less vulnerable to water scarcity.