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Drought Fact Sheet #4

How Do Industries Affect Drought Planning?

Industrial Participation in Drought Planning Is Critica Critical l
The impacts of drought on industry can be catastrophic. Many processes require large, reliable sources of water. If the flow of water is interrupted, they must either move to a new location or face additional costs to establish a new supply of water. Either choice could result in a significant impact to local employment and/or payrolls. Nationally, industry uses only about 20% of the annual water supply (Sandra Postel, 1996). But when we look at an individual community, the results can be very different. Some industries use large quantities of water while others use it sparingly. Industries consuming large quantities of water often represent a large share of the revenue for local water systems. If there is a water shortage, these large customers may receive priority treatment. The loss of such an industry because of water shortages may have a significant impact on the cost of water for the remaining residential users.

Industrial water users often generate wastewater that must be treated before it is returned to the hydrologic cycle.

source of water. Sometimes an industry will make an agreement with a municipality prior to establishing a facility at a new location. In this instance, industrial and municipal water needs must be considered together. In other instances, industry will go directly to a surface-water or groundwater source to meet its water needs. They then assume the responsibility for the delivery and treatment of the water prior to its use in their industrial processes. In this case the industrial user may be considered independently of the municipal users. Industries that use water in their processes almost always end up with wastewater that must be managed. Even small industries end up with miscellaneous water discharges and domestic wastewater from restrooms. There are typically three ways to deal with this wastewater: discharge it to a municipal wastewater system, treat and discharge it to a waterway, or reuse it as a source of irrigation water. This last option may be

Some industries that use large amounts of water produce such commodities as food, paper, chemicals, refined petroleum, or primary metals.
Industrial water users also generate wastewater. In many cases, the wastewater is returned back to the hydrologic cycle after it is treated. In times of drought, the industrial return water can make up a much bigger portion of the flows in streams. A thorough Drought Plan will consider the importance of a secure industrial water supply. How does Industry Impact Our Water Supply? Industry often secures its water from the nearest municipal source, which can supply a reliable

considered a source of groundwater recharge and should be treated differently in drought planning (Sandra Postel, 1999). Water Regulations that Impact Industry Regulations that govern industrial water sources may include water rights if the source is surface water or groundwater extraction permits if they rely on groundwater. These requirements will not apply if the industry secures its water supply from a municipal system. In that case the municipal water system will usually meet the various regulatory requirements and the industry will have a contract with the municipal system for its water. If the industry is a large volume user, there may be special water rates included in the contract they have with the city. These special rates may be important to the development of a Drought Plan because they are part of the industrys cost structure. Any change in these rates will need to be considered carefully. Wastewater management options for industry are similar to those used in securing water supply. If

payrolls may represent a significant portion of the local economy and the loss of these jobs due to drought conditions can have adverse impacts that extend throughout the community. Also, local industry may be responsible for the use and related cost of a significant share of the local water demand. In times of drought, the relative amount of industrial water used, and returned, to the system is larger. Finally, industrial users may be willing and able to make significant changes in their water use patterns on a short- or long-term basis. They can most effectively make these changes by incorporating them into their budgeting and planning processes well in advance of the need. These are all reasons that strongly support the deliberation and planning steps that lead to a community based Drought Plan. The NARC&DC would like to thank the USDAs Natural Resources Conservation Service for their assistance in the development of this fact sheet.

Groundwater supplies 26% of industries water supply in the United States. (USAID 1985)
the industry simply discharges to the municipality, the municipality will hold the permits for the wastewater discharge, which will quite likely be governed by an agreement between the industry and the city. If the industry has its own treatment system, they will be required to have a discharge permit consistent with the requirements of the Federal Clean Water Act. They may also be required to have a storm water permit (see Fact Sheet #3 for additional details). Industrial Participation in Drought Planning Industrial users are critical to the drought planning process for several reasons. Industrial
Reusing wastewater to irrigate a crop can be considered a source of groundwater recharge.

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March, 2006