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Promoting the use of reclaimed water from waste water treatment effluents

Local public administration bodies have a considerable influence on waste water treatment operations and can therefore promote the use of reclaimed water for a number of applications, eventually reducing the demand for fresh water. Water-stressed areas, especially where agricultural irrigation requires considerable amounts of fresh water, may benefit from the use of reclaimed water.

Reclaimed water from waste water treatment plants can be used for:

    • irrigation, including non-agricultural irrigation operations (e.g. parks)
    • non-potable urban uses (e.g. street cleaning, ice-making for adjacent ski stations, toilet flushing in public buildings, fountains)
    • industrial uses (e.g. cooling)
    • groundwater recharge.

Reclaimed water obtained from waste water treatment must undergo stringent quality checks to ensure that it meets the parameters for its new use.

Local public administration bodies can promote and improve the use of reclaimed water in different applications by:

  • fitting waste water treatment plants with tertiary and disinfection treatment systems to improve the quality of the treated water so that it can be used again – treatment technologies include UV, chemicals (e.g. peracetic acid), reverse osmosis, reversible electrodialysis and sand filtration
  • involving stakeholders (e.g. local farmers, agricultural cooperatives) in the establishment and operation of systems to use the reclaimed water – the treated water needs to be stored and transported to the final-use destination and this infrastructure may already exist (e.g. irrigation canals) or would need to be built
  • using the reclaimed water for their operations (e.g. watering green public spaces)
  • introducing economic incentives (e.g. reduced tariffs for the use of reclaimed water instead of fresh water) to support the use of reclaimed water by potential stakeholders
  • carrying out campaigns to raise awareness of water use and how reclaimed water is used.

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