Wastewater Report 2018: The Reuse Opportunity

The International Water Association
Knowledge hub

Used water is one of the most under-exploited resources we have. Water from industrial or domestic use contains energy, water, organics, phosphates, nitrogen, cellulose, rare earths, and other resources. Technologies are increasingly making resource recovery from wastewater commercially feasible, including bio-gas, fertiliser, paper, metals, plastics and, perhaps most importantly, it is a source of ‘new’ water.

For the water sector, transitioning to a circular economy presents an opportunity to fast track achieving the SDGs through accelerating and scaling-up recent scientific and technological advances that support greater efficiency in the sector.

This report aims to illustrate the wastewater challenge and reuse opportunity in eight cities across the globe, presenting a reuse roadmap and identifying priorities and benefits to meeting SDG target 6.3. The cities profiled in this report are not the ‘usual suspects’ of pioneering cities who have been on this trajectory for some time, but rather cities small and large from developing countries where the existing and future challenges are felt more acutely and the need for change is pressing.