The reuse of water is becoming an increasingly central focus of attention. This reuse presents companies with important opportunities to reduce their dependence on the available water sources. By demanding less water from sources such as rainwater, drinking water or surface water, some players, such as (processing) industries, can moreover strengthen their public acceptability. Other important drivers behind water reuse are the associated cost savings, both in terms of water and energy. KWR draws on a comprehensive network and extensive experience to bring together all the required knowledge and stakeholders related to responsible water reuse, thus bridging knowledge and practice. An overview follows of a number of current activities, from techniques applied in practice to knowledge networks and futures studies.
Water fulfils innumerable functions for a wide range of users: from drinking water to source of recreation, from ingredient to means of cooling or transport. Growing water demand and shrinking water supply are exerting great pressure on the freshwater provision. For many industrial companies, the availability of water into the future is one of the key issues faced by their production processes in the time ahead. The reuse of water is becoming an increasingly central focus of attention. Water reuse presents companies important opportunities to reduce their dependence on the available water sources. By demanding less water from sources such as rainwater, drinking water or surface water, some players, such as (processing) industries, can moreover strengthen their public acceptability.
Network of knowledge and stakeholders
Water reuse however also has consequences for the water system, and for water quality and quantity. It therefore calls for evidence-based decisions and proven techniques. Moreover, when it comes to the large-scale and meaningful reuse of water, one needs to bring together the different stakeholders who could make use of each other’s water or wastewater. KWR collaborates with various stakeholders and knowledge organisations, and has a broad network of players who have knowledge, experience and an interest in the field of water reuse. By collaborating with KWR, companies can share in this experience and benefit from the opportunities offered by this network. Here are a few current examples.
Within the Joint Research Programme with the water utilities, KWR is today exploring current developments and future scenarios for the further use of treated industrial and municipal residual water as a source of freshwater. Using an integrated framework, the effects of water reuse on the freshwater system are being systematically quantified, in terms of opportunities and risks, for today and for the decades ahead. The research focuses on developments around the reuse of effluent by different players and in different sectors, from industry to Water Authority, and from farmers to drinking water utilities. What are the positive and negative effects of the choices made in one sector on the availability of water – in terms of both quantity and quality – in another sector? What are the opportunities and risks associated with increased water reuse under different future scenarios?
The results of the Joint Research Programme project will also be widely disseminated upon its completion; the results of the present project, which will conclude in early 2020, will also certainly be of interest to the industrial stakeholders.
Over the last ten years, KWR has built up extensive experience in the field of water reuse in various projects concerning the reuse of residual water from the food industry in agriculture, or the internal reuse of water within industrial companies. KWR also collaborates in research projects with several knowledge and other partners within the TKI Water Technology programme. This work focuses on new treatment concepts for municipal wastewater, such as CoRe Water (Concentration, Recovery & Reuse), in which the treated water of very good quality is, and can be, used as process water: the WWTP as sustainable water factory.
To further reinforce its network, KWR recently became a member of Water Reuse Europe (WRE). This branch association of Europe’s rapidly growing water reuse sector was launched in 2016, and has since attracted 18 members from all over the continent. WRE’s channels and activities will allow KWR to further extend its network in the field of water reuse. At the same time, other WRE members can benefit from the knowledge and activities of KWR in the area of water systems, water technology, governance and the efficient management of energy, resources and of water itself.
With regard to the scientific network, several KWR researchers will this month be attending the twelfth international IWA Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse in Berlin, titled ‘Overcoming Water Stress by Water Reclamation and Reuse’. They will be happy to share their insights after the event with you!