Reclaimed water is receiving growing attention worldwide as an effective solution for alleviating the growing water scarcity in many areas. Despite the various benefits associated with reclaimed water, water recycling and reuse (WR&R) practices are not widely applied around the world. This is mostly due to complex and inadequate local legal and institutional frameworks and socio-economic structures, which pose barriers to wider WR&R implementation. An integrated approach is therefore needed while planning the implementation of WR&R schemes, considering all the potential barriers, and aiming to develop favourable conditions for enhancing reclaimed water use. This paper proposes a comprehensive methodology supporting the development of an enabling environment for WR&R implementation. The political, economic, social, technical, legal and institutional factors that may influence positively (drivers) or negatively (barriers) WR&R implementation in the regional water systems are identified, through the mapping of local stakeholder perceptions. The identified barriers are further analysed, following a Cross-Impact/System analysis, to recognize the most significant barriers inhibiting system transition, and to prioritize the enabling instruments and arrangements that are needed to boost WR&R implementation. The proposed methodology was applied in the Copiapó River Basin in Chile, which faces severe water scarcity. Through the analysis, it was observed that barriers outweigh drivers for the implementation of WR&R schemes in the Copiapó River Basin, while the key barriers which could be useful for policy formulation towards an enabling environment in the area concern the unclear legal framework regarding the ownership of treated wastewater, the lack of environmental policies focusing on pollution control, the limited integration of reclaimed water use in current land use and development policies, the limited public awareness on WR&R, and the limited availability of governmental funding sources for WR&R.
Creating an enabling environment for WR&R implementation
P.-M. Stathatou, E. Kampragou, H. Grigoropoulou, D. Assimacopoulos, C. Karavitis, J. Gironás; Creating an enabling environment for WR&R implementation. Water Sci Technol 27 September 2017; 76 (6): 1555–1564. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2017.353
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