Abstract

Against the background of drastically rising global water demand and increasing pollution and overexploitation of regional water resources, the demand-driven water supply of households and industry is of central importance. Water reuse and desalination are seen as key technologies to overcome potential regional and local water shortage. In the joint projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) ‘Future-oriented Technologies and Concepts to Increase Water Availability by Water Reuse and Desalination (WavE)’, evaluation approaches for analysing innovative technologies and concepts are being developed and assessed. All evaluation methods and criteria used were selected based on the decision situation at hand and the decision-makeŕs preferences. Based on the analysis of six multi-criteria evaluation concepts used in selected WavE projects, this paper presents a general approach for comparative multi-criteria evaluation of water reuse systems consisting of prerequisites, minimum requirements, evaluation criteria (qualitative, semi-quantitative or quantitative) and a final aggregation of results. Exemplary sets of criteria for the application in a more industrial, municipal and/or international context are presented as an aid for the application of holistic evaluation approaches for (process) concept and technology selection in the context of water reuse and desalination.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The paper provides guidance on the application of different evaluation approaches for the selection of advanced treatment technologies for water reuse and desalination.

  • It is based on a review of assessment methods used in six different projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and provides insights into challenges that were faced in the assessment processes of the individual projects.

  • It presents a general approach for comparative multi-criteria evaluation of water reuse systems consisting of prerequisites, minimum requirements, evaluation criteria (qualitative, semi-quantitative or quantitative) and a final aggregation of results.

  • Exemplary sets of criteria for the application in a more industrial, municipal and/or international context are presented as an aid for the application of holistic evaluation approaches for concept and technology selection in the context of water reuse and desalination.

  • Finally, possible data sources, challenges in using them and indicators to measure data quality are presented to give guidance on data collection.

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