There is an opportunity for Ireland to embrace the concept of a Circular Economy, which is gaining traction across Europe, and water reuse can play a key role in creating a sustainable future for Ireland. Unlike the traditional linear ‘take, make, dispose’ economic model, the shift to a circular economy model would replace scarcity with abundance and reduce the resources needed to run our water infrastructure.
This project will investigate the opportunities for Ireland to adopt water reuse strategies and technologies to enable a transition towards a more systemic water treatment system in Ireland.
Water reuse is the process of converting wastewater into usable water. Water reuse solutions help to increase the water supplies available to a community by using technology to create clean water for a variety of purposes, such as: agricultural irrigation of food and non-food crops, industrial uses (cooling water, wash-down water, making concrete), non-drinkable urban uses (landscape irrigation, vehicle washing or toilet flushing), environmental and recreational uses, and possibly increasing water availability for (later) drinkable water production.
The water sector’s advanced technologies and record of multi-stakeholder agreements lend themselves to circular solutions. The transition to a circular economy in Ireland will also contribute to growth; creating new business opportunities and jobs, reducing our carbon footprint, reducing pressures on the environment, enhancing security of supply of resources and sustainability.
This project is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Research Programme 2014-2020.
Partners: EPA www.epa.ie
The key work packages of the project include:
- Literature Review – To identify technology trends associated with water reuse, and to investigate progressive countries water reuse strategies and best practices to inform national policy, best practice and developing solutions in an Irish context;
- Site Analysis – Identify and analyse key sites across municipal and industrial sectors, which are treating and processing large quantities of wastewater;
- Technology Assessment – Investigate current and developing innovative water recycling and reuse technologies, in terms of economic and technical feasibility, and their potential environmental impacts;
- Social Science – Gain an in-depth understanding of general public and industry wide perception and behavioural issues around water reuse through comprehensive cross-sectoral stakeholder engagement;
- Conclusions & Recommendations – Make evidence based recommendations on how to develop the water reuse sector and identify measures required to successfully implement water reuse in the context of the circular economy in Ireland.