The increasing scarcity of clean water sets the need for appropriate management of available water resources. Particularly regions suffering from a lack of water urgently need integrated environmental protection and resource conservation (EP&RC) technologies in order to enable effective management of the available water resources. EP&RC-concepts focus on a minimum of consumptive use of energy, chemicals, and water and a maximum of reuse of treated wastewater and of residues produced from the pollutants present in the wastewater. Consequently, by implementing these concepts, instead of a social threat, waste(water)s like sewage and industrial effluents become an important resource for water, fertilisers, soil conditioners and to some extent also energy. In addition, a bridge is made between environmental protection and agriculture practice, stimulating (urban) agriculture in the neighbourhood of large cities.
Anaerobic treatment is considered as the core technology for mineralising organic compounds in waste(water) streams. Additional technologies are required to comply with the reuse criteria. Some examples of possible EP&RC concepts, using the anaerobic treatment technology for the reclamation of domestic sewage are discussed.