Water recycling and its re-use is an important method to manage water resources. The perceptions of communities and other stakeholders on water reuse are very important because they ultimately decide on the actual reuse of water. Our aim is to develop a socially acceptable water reuse implementation strategy, by understanding human perceptions and institutional boundaries.
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Water recycling and its re-use is an important method to manage water resources. Technically, treated wastewater can be re-used for domestic, agricultural, and industrial purposes such as irrigation, industrial cooling and even for drinking.
However, technically sound reuse plans around the world have sometimes failed because communities did not want to use the treated wastewater. The perceptions of communities and other stakeholders on water reuse are of critical importance. Yet there is still much to learn on how people in different cultural contexts make their decisions regarding the reuse of treated wastewater.
To make water reuse successful, a socially accepted implementation strategy is needed. This research project seeks to understand social, economic, and institutional barriers to the reuse of treated wastewater. By doing so, socially acceptable and economically viable options for a range of stakeholders (including individuals, communities, businesses, and government agencies) can be identified.
First the key institutions and stakeholders along the water treatment and reuse value chain are identified. Next, by doing interviews and surveys, the barriers (social, economic, and legal) to healthy water reuse and opportunities to overcome these barriers are identified. From these opportunities, generally acceptable reuse options across various stakeholders are selected and further developed. A sample of our interviews can be seen here.
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First the key institutions and stakeholders along the water treatment and reuse value chain are identified. By understanding the roles they play and how they interact with each other, the current perceptions towards wastewater treatment and reuse is mapped. This information can serve as a baseline of the current ways in which people reuse wastewater among various socioeconomic groups in Delhi, India.
The next step is to identify key barriers (social, economic, and legal) to the healthy reuse of treated wastewater and opportunities to overcome these barriers. Part of the research will entail conducting a cost-benefit analysis of different reuse options, entrepreneurship development along these reuse options and interventions to raise awareness on the issue.
These opportunities are then evaluated on social acceptability and economic viability for different stakeholder groups such as individuals, local communities (for e.g. farmers), businesses, government agencies, and institutions in wastewater treatment and reuse. Finally, these new insights will be delivered in a framework that allows for the development of action points in order to achieve higher acceptance and coverage of wastewater reuse projects.
By using behaviour theories we can assess which major factors influence people’s decision to accept or reject wastewater reuse. Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour (1985) will be used as a basis to test the major factors that influence individual’s decisions. These perceptions are used as input for the Analytic Hierarchy Process tool. This tool ranks the perceptions on water reuse options and allows us to find and study the generally acceptable reuse options across various stakeholders.
Actual water reuse depends on individual choices. Effective implementation strategies can be formulated by understanding the perception of stakeholders on water reuse. Our goal is to create a framework on which water reuse option across different stakeholders can be evaluated. This framework should be usable in different cultural settings and adaptable to various local contexts, thereby ensuring a higher success rate for future water reuse projects.
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Safe reuse of effluent
Actual water reuse depends on individuals choices, which are a reflection of perceptions. It is therefore crucial to understand in what conditions water reuse is an acceptable choice. By using this approach, water reuse will become an actuality rather than a technical possibility.
Source of income
LOTUSHR strives for a holistic water treatment approach. This means that besides water other commercially attractive products are formed during the consecutive treatment steps. Investigating how this potential economic incentive could push acceptance and support for water reuse is important.
Knowledge creation & dissemination
By sharing the LOTUSHR framework with stakeholders, we hope to enable future water reuse projects to develop successful strategies of their own.
The framework will be applicable to other water reuse projects for urban spaces with range of stakeholders (including individuals, communities, businesses, and government agencies). By using this framework the most acceptable implementation options will be made available. Our approach includes the following for urban spaces around the world:
- Water reuse implementation framework
- Socially supported water reuse strategies
COLLABORATION & PARTNERS
The project is a collaboration between researchers at The Energy and Resources Institute, India and VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Our contributing partners offer their expertise on raising awareness and various aspects of wastewater treatment and reuse.
- Wageningen Environmental Research
- IPStar BV
- University of Applied Science Saxion
All our partners can be found here.