Previous works on Water Scarcity and Droughts and on Groundwater identified treated wastewater reuse as a way of addressing long term imbalances between water demand and supply.
Acknowledging that, at the European level, there were no formal definitions or guidelines addressing the issue of treated wastewater reuse they highlighted the need for further investigations as well as a need for coordination and information exchange between the Member States of the European Union, partner countries covered by the Mediterranean-EU Water Initiative (MED-EUWI), the European Commission, and other interest groups.
The following report represents the major output of the MED-EUWI Wastewater Reuse Working Group set up accordingly in 2007.
It presents a way forward by seeking to identify the main objectives of a treated wastewater reuse policy and the existing barriers and constraints which will have to be overcome if wastewater reuse strategies are meant to gather more momentum and be adopted on a larger and more effective scale than at present. It is the first step for collecting information on the current status of wastewater reuse in the European Union and the Mediterranean area in order to obtain an overview of the issues at stake and to chart the way forward by setting the foundation for more specific and demand driven action.
The report assesses current knowledge and experience on treated waste water reuse in the EU and Mediterranean countries, recaps on key definitions and terminology, provides an overview of related benefits and risks (economic, social, health related and environmental), outlines applicable EU environmental legislation and legislative frameworks in several countries, highlights the importance of treated waste water reuse in the EU-Mediterranean region (with a set of 23 case studies) and provides a set of recommendations.