Drivers for and against municipal wastewater recycling: a review

The reclamation, treatment and reuse of municipal wastewater can provide important environmental benefits. In this paper, 25 studies on this topic were reviewed and it was found that there are many (> 150) different drivers acting for and against wastewater recycling. To deal with the challenge of comparing studies which entailed different research designs, a framework was developed which allowed the literature to be organized into comparable study contexts. Studies were categorized according to the level of analysis (wastewater recycling scheme, city, water utility, state, country, global) and outcome investigated (development/investment in new schemes, program implementation, percentage of wastewater recycled, percentage of water demand covered by recycled water, multiple outcomes). Findings across comparable case studies were then grouped according to the type (for or against recycling) and category of driver (social, natural, technical, economic, policy or business). The utility of the framework is demonstrated by summarizing the findings from four Australian studies at the city level. The framework offers a unique approach for disentangling the broad range of potential drivers for and against water recycling and to focus on those that seem relevant in specific study contexts. It may offer a valuable starting point for building hypotheses in future work.

Published in:
Water Science And Technology, 73, 2, 251-259
London, IWA Publishing

 Record created 2016-07-19, last modified 2018-03-17

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