Increased water demand from population and economic growth, environmental needs, change in rainfall, flood contamination of good quality water and over abstraction of groundwater are all factors that will continue to create water shortage problems. This paper considers alternative solutions, which conform to sustainable solution premises whilst being economically beneficial to the community. The importance of pilot studies is reviewed and the surprises they can uncover. Case studies describe the benefits of long-term operating experience of zero discharge systems reusing the wastewater produced by car manufacture and secondary sewage reuse for a large coal fired power plant. Applications of reuse on large islands such as Hawaii and desert communities are discussed including the production of cash crops with high efficiency irrigation systems by reusing brackish municipal wastewater. Large municipal zero discharge potable water production is also described with an economic comparison of the alternatives.