LONDON, Dec. 21, 2007 -- CIWEM believes that water reuse should play an important part in achieving more sustainable water management in the UK.
Water is essential to industry for processes such as cooling, heating, cleaning, diluting, transportation and sanitation. Businesses have financial and environmental incentives to reduce their water consumption, so alongside demand management there is a need to source alternative supplies. Water reuse involves suitably treated wastewater from one process being reused for a new purpose.
In a new report CIWEM examines the potential benefits to society from industry reusing water, including greater environmental flows for freshwater wildlife and water-based recreation and the freeing-up of potable quality water for domestic consumers. For industry, water reuse provides a more drought-resistant water supply and potential financial savings.
CIWEM suggests that where potential sustainability concerns such as the energy usage required to treat and distribute the water and disposing of concentrate have been resolved, water reuse can be sustainable. CIWEM believes it should be an integral part of a suite of water demand and supply management measures that together can bring about more sustainable water management in the UK.
The report highlights the following issues as critical to facilitating sustainable water reuse:
1. The need for society to develop a greater appreciation of the anthropogenic influence on the water cycle
2. The need to develop fair pricing for all water resources reflecting their full economic and environmental costs and yet the short-term need for pump-priming financial support from government for sustainable water reuse projects
3. The need for a coherent government policy on water reuse, coupled with authoritative reclaimed water quality standards that are realistic and protect public health and the environment
4. The need for existing government programmes to be expanded to include water reuse technologies
5. The need for more research and development into low-carbon, economic water reuse solutions
CIWEM believes that addressing these issues will assist greatly the expansion of water reuse in the UK.
The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, CIWEM, is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world.