Water is one of the most important elements to the development of life in our planet. However, according to UN, the lack of this resource will affect to 7 million people by 2050.
Europe is dealing with this problem by supporting the reuse of wastewater in agriculture, in order to ensure freshwater sources in the EU countries. On 21th of January, members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment supported a Council agreement on a proposal to the reuse of wastewater.
Agricultural sector account for 50% of water used in EU countries. Therefore, the reuse of this resource is essential to avoid the general shortage of water. However, to ensure crop quality, this reused water must meet minimum requirements. It requires a frequent monitoring and wastewater treatment plants must develop risk management plans.
But, what do we mean by “reuse of water”?
Reusing water is a process by which a useful life is given to waters that has been used in the domestic or industrial sphere. Firstly, this water are purified and, then, a tertiary treatment is carried out from which regenerated water is obtained according to the required parameters. This treatment is divided in two phases: an ultrafiltration system and a disinfection system
In addition to being intended for agricultural activities, this water could be used in others areas such as toilet refill, sewer cleaning, street baling, fire systems, industrial vehicle washing, industrial processes or aquifer refill and regeneration of rivers and wetlands. The next step is to achieve the reuse of water in its full cycle, that means, the direct potable reuse, which has been worked during decades in some countries, such as Namibia or the USA.
Wastewater reuse is part of the implementation of circular economy in European countries and seeks to reuse this scarce and precious resource to promote the sustainability and care for the planet.