Cities are fundamental to lead wastewater reuse, finds report

Feb. 27, 2018
Major cities around the world are being tasked to lead a “reuse revolution” to dramatically help increase wastewater recycling...

VIENNA, Austria – Major cities around the world are being tasked to lead a “reuse revolution” to dramatically help increase wastewater treatment, reuse and recycling.

With 80 percent of all wastewater discharged into rivers, lakes and oceans untreated, it is leading to health and environmental hazards, while contributing to Greenhouse Gas emissions, according to a new report – Wastewater: The reuse opportunity – launched by the International Water Association and OFID (the OPEC Fund for International Development).

Reusing wastewater is an opportunity for cities to transition to the circular economy, it said.

The report focuses on eight cities, all facing different water and wastewater challenges and developing different solutions to address them, and which could be applied in other cities:

Aqaba, Jordan: A mid-size city turning its “zero discharge” challenge into a good opportunity;

Bangkok, Thailand: Using wastewater as a resource and a valuable economic good;

Beijing, China: Building infrastructure to keep up with an ever-expanding mega city;

Chennai, India: Addressing water scarcity through accelerated wastewater reuse;

Durban, South Africa: Treating wastewater as an economic good;

Kampala, Uganda: Protecting its water source with an integrated plan to control, treat and reuse wastewater;

Lima, Peru: Learning by doing under the urgency of shrinking glaciers;

Manila, Philippines: A mega city regenerating resources through wastewater treatment and reuse.

Suleiman J Al-Herbish, director general of OFID, said: “This report illustrates both the global wastewater challenge, and the reuse opportunity in eight cities. These are all cities in low- or middle-income countries where future challenges will be more acute and the need for change is urgent. The report presents city roadmaps and identifies priorities – as well as the benefits – of meeting the Sustainable Development Goal target of halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse by 2030.”

The global market for wastewater recycling and reuse reached nearly $12.2 billion in 2016 and is estimated to reach $22.3 billion by 2021.

Professor Kala Vairavamoorthy, executive director of the IWA, said: “This market expansion is in response to a growing demand from cities and industry for water against a backdrop of increased urbanisation, population growth and climate variability, the result of which is greater water scarcity at a time of increasing global demand. Wastewater management as a resource is a critical solution to these challenges.”


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