There’s a big difference between water lying around, water that might happen to be clean, and water that has been cleaned explicitly. And the difference is effort, energy, and infrastructure. You have to pay for clean water, either in utility bills (for infrastructure and energy), or in a catchment system (also infrastructure, but onsite). And the costs go up if population or growth or financing terms or surrounding construction limit new construction of mains. So, since handwashing effluent is still clean enough, why not salvage it lower down?
Over here in Germany (not exactly a dry country either) a cubic metre ( 1,000 litres) of water costs less than 0,9 €. Getting rid of it costs 2,70 €.
An urinal talkes about 1 litre per flush, washing hands tales 2-3 litres. So even with excessive use, we are talking about a savings of 14 € per male and year.
In a private household, this introduces another sink to clean.
It a public setting, it will probably not save that much wate anyway. (see
THIS. And they’ve been doing it for decades.
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