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Water reuse and recycling

Challenges

Water recycling and reuse should be considered as the core of an integrated water management approach to save costs, recover materials and demonstrate environmental stewardship. The use of non-conventional water resources through recycling and reuse can support the provision of safe, available and affordable water, while decreasing energy needs, reclamation costs and environmental impacts. Hence, it is an essential component in a sustainable water management.

Bottlenecks

The implementation of water recycling and reuse suffers not only from technical barriers, but also from other bottlenecks such as a limited institutional capacity to formulate and institutionalize recycling and reuse measures, a lack of financial incentives and public perceptions towards water recycling, reclamation and reuse. Further barriers are sub-optimal markets for recovered nutrients and a lack of well-developed and robust industrial processes using different qualities of water and the absence of EU harmonised safety and quality standards for reused water.

Market opportunities

The potential market for innovations in water reuse and recycling, through implementing technological solutions and adoption of policy and legislative measures, is expected to grow and develop significantly within and outside Europe, particularly in highly water stressed regions.

Objective

An effective policy framework is in place and Fit for Purpose/Symbiotic approaches are applied, gaining efficiency of water use by better integrating urban, industrial, agricultural and environmental uses. Innovative solutions provide different water qualities for several cross cutting applications and allow for achieving a balance between the natural water needs in the environment and the growing demands for human and economic activities. Public participation processes are in place for promoting risk awareness and behavioral change in water recycling and reuse.

Initial Actions

The Steering Group of the EIP Water invites Action Groups to develop and test:

  1. Fit for Purpose/Symbiotic approaches based on technical, economic, social and environmental criteria, where cost-effective treatment meets intended use and quality.
  2. Innovative solutions and/or treatment options, producing and testing recycled/reclaimed water for residential, urban, industrial and agricultural uses, with consideration of ecosystems and involving multiple stakeholders.
  3. Systems capable of determining the quality of recycled and reclaimed water to improve management and public acceptance according to health requirements.
  4. Innovative separation- and extraction technology pilot projects in industrial zones to harvest resources from waste- and re-used water.