Water resources are essential for every development activity, not only in terms of available quantity but also in terms of quality. Population growth and urbanisation are increasing the number of users and uses of water, making water resources scarcer and more polluted. Changes in rainfall patterns threaten to worsen these effects in many areas. Water scarcity, due to physical lack or pollution, has become one of the most pressing issues globally, a matter of human, economic and environmental insecurity. Wastewater, whose value had not been appreciated until recently, is increasingly recognised as a potential ‘new’ source of clean water for potable and non-potable uses, resulting in social, environmental and economic benefits. This paper discusses the potential of recycled wastewater (also known as reused water) to become a significant source of safe water for drinking purposes and improved sanitation in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.
By Cecilia Tortajada, 2020. Article published in npj Clean Water, Volume 3, Number 22. DOI: 10.1038/s41545-020-0069-3