Publication Date

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Katherine Kao Cushing


recycled water

Subject Areas

Water resources management; Urban planning; Sustainability


Many U.S. states are currently experiencing or expect to experience water shortages in the next ten years. Recycling water is one strategy states are pursuing to minimize water shortages. Many states, however, have been unable to reach goals for volume of water recycled, and many regional and municipal programs have been ineffective in meeting production goals. Existing literature focuses primarily on how to implement a program and defines success as the ability to establish a program. After several decades of recycled water use in the United States, there is a lack of accepted metrics that allow for a cross comparison of established programs that might enable states to achieve larger production goals.

This study aimed to identify a common set of metrics that can be used to assess the effectiveness of urban recycled water programs. Proposed metrics were presented to a panel of experts from six major recycled water stakeholder groups in a Delphi Method study.

The survey results showed the panel rated the Recycled Water Portfolio Contribution, Customer Satisfaction, Voter Support, and Community Support metrics as most appropriate. The Recycled Water Program stakeholders agreed most with the Water Supply Program stakeholders and agreed least with the Regulatory Agency stakeholders.