Wastewater in most countries of the Near East Region (NER) is being more and more recognized as of vital importance to be treated and made safe for reuse. It contributes considerably to the water budget in several countries, particularly those suffering from water scarcity. Treated wastewater is used directly in irrigation of farms or landscape green areas. Limited indirect use includes recharge of groundwater aquifers to control over-draft and salt intrusion in coastal areas. A large share of wastewater is still not treated and part of it is used in an uncontrolled manner, including for the production of uncooked food crops the consumption of which poses health risks. Expansion of treated wastewater reuse in the region is linked to a number of issues and constraints. The high cost of treatment and management of reclaimed wastewater is one of the major limitations facing the week economy of most countries. Unclear polices, institutional conflicts and lack of regulatory frameworks constitute other important constraints that hinder implementation and proper operation of wastewater reuse projects. The manpower capacity is at varying levels between countries, but additional training and capacity strengthening are generally needed throughout the region. This paper gives an overview of the existing practices of wastewater reuse in the NER and of the constraints facing it. It concludes with recommendations and policy options that are likely to lift these constraints and to make a better use of the wastewater potential.

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