U3.02 Binz 2017 ReNUWIt Annual Meeting Poster

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Direct potable water reuse (DPR), in which highly purified wastewater is introduced directly into a drinking water system, is among the newest, and most controversial, methods for augmenting water supplies. DPR is garnering increasing interest, but does not come without risks. This paper examines the notion that emerging regulation of DPR may lack sufficient attention to a particular class of risks, catastrophic risks with low probabilities of occurrence, but high consequences. It may be instructive for proponents of DPR that such consequences have materialized in other industries, with damage to human welfare and to the industries themselves. We develop brief histories of risk regulation from the aviation, offshore oil and nuclear industries, drawing out relevant lessons for the emerging DPR field. We argue that proponents of DPR could benefit from proactively developing a safety culture in DPR utilities and establishing an effective industry-wide auditing organization that investigates unanticipated system failures. Developing independent oversight for DPR operation could ensure that stringent quality and management requirements are set and enforced in the long run, and that any system failures or “near misses” are investigated and responded to adequately.


Type of resource other
Date created May 2017


Author Binz, Christian
Author Razavian, Noosha Bronte
Author Kiparsky, Michael


Subject Re-inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure
Subject ReNUWIt
Subject U3.02
Subject Urban Systems Integration and Institutions
Subject Technology diffusion pathways
Subject California
Subject drinking water
Subject innovation
Subject model
Subject policy
Subject technology
Subject urban water
Subject wastewater
Subject water reclamation
Subject water reuse
Subject water treatment

Bibliographic information

Related Publication Binz, C., Razavian, N. B., & Kiparsky, M. (2018). Of Dreamliners and Drinking Water: Developing Risk Regulation and a Safety Culture for Direct Potable Reuse. Water Resources Management, 32(2), 511-525. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-017-1824-1
Location https://purl.stanford.edu/wh078jx2277

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Preferred Citation
Binz, C., Razavian, N. B., & Kiparsky, M. (2017). U3.02 Razavian 2017 ReNUWIt Annual Meeting Poster. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at: https://purl.stanford.edu/wh078jx2277


Re-inventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt)

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