Topics: Water, Water supply, Water crisis Pages: 11 (3274 words) Published: August 19, 2013

B. Durham1 A.N. Angelakis2 T. Wintgens3 C. Thoeye4 L.Sala5

1 Technical Secretary, EUREAU Water Recycling and Reuse Working Group and Veolia Water, 52 rue d’Anjou, 75384 Paris. Corresponding author Fax: +44 1773 742156 email: 2 Hellenic Union of Municipal Enter. for Water Supply and Sewerage, 41200 Larissa and National Foundation for Agricultural Research, Institute of Iraklio, 711 10 Iraklio, Greece 3 RWTH Aachen University, Department of Chemical Engineering, Turmstrasse 46, 52056 Aachen, Germany. 4 Aquafin NV – Dijkstraat 8, Aartselaar 2630, Belgium.

5 Consorci de la Costa Brava, Placa Josep Pla, 4, 3r.1a. 17001 Girona, Spain

Europe depends on appropriately treated wastewater to protect the environment and ensure that freshwater is available for all applications. Water recycling and reuse through surface and groundwater bodies is common practice and public health is protected through potable water standards. The reuse of water for non potable applications or potable substitution has been proven internationally in water stressed regions to be a drought proof source of water and one of the most effective water scarcity solutions. The benefit can be substantial as 30-70% of abstractions are for public water supply. The EU Wastewater Directive states that wastewater should be reuse wherever appropriate but there is no clear definition of what is appropriate. Safe water reuse increases the availability of water, reduces nutrient discharge to surface water and can reduce manufacturing cost for industry. Europe needs to define which applications and qualities are appropriate through the development of best practice guidelines so that the member states can safely take advantage of this drought proof and valuable source of water.

Key Words: water reclamation, drought proof, potable substitution,


The hot and dry summer of 2003 in Europe has once again drawn attention to the importance of reliable water supplies. Freshwater resources in Europe are unevenly distributed and every country has a tailored solution for satisfying its water demand. The experience of temporal or regional water scarcity highlights the importance of sustainable water management (economic, environmental & social).

Establishing sustainable water management practices and regimes requires a responsible use of water resources while at the same time assuring sufficient water supply to different users. Due to scarce resources this is not easy to achieve in some regions. Reconciling competing demands calls for expanding the supply and managing demand more wisely.

Water stress is increasing due to population density, diffused pollution, unreliable precipitation, short-term population increases due to tourism and increased demand for irrigation to improve agricultural productivity. At the same time, the Water Framework Directive requests an analysis of water use, which in some regions or basins could lead to a reduction of 15 to 20% of abstraction licenses, in order to protect surface and groundwater quality and quantity. In this context, water reuse opens up an alternative dependable water resource. Reusing treated wastewater basically compresses the hydrological cycle from an uncontrolled global scale to a controlled local scale. Water reuse is a proven and appropriate tool in managing scarce water resources. Throughout the centuries, wastewater reuse has evolved from a simple method to dispose of polluted water by irrigating and manuring field crops with untreated wastewater to a sophisticated process of reclamation allowing agricultural, industrial, urban and even domestic reuse.


Figure 1 Water reuse applications (Asano 1989).

Reclaimed water can be used as an acceptable and safe substitute for many traditional uses of drinking water and water from sources that provide raw water for drinking...
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