The Potential of Treated Wastewater Reuse in South Africa


The population explosion in Africa and global climate change against the backdrop of reduced freshwater availability and increasing water demands means more water stress. Water over-abstraction is a major cause of concern. Main pressures from water consumption are concentrated on agriculture and domestic demand, including the tourism sector. In this context, the recycling of treated wastewater becomes a profit yielding and noble solution to secure access to drinking water.


The reclamation of treated wastewater can provide significant environmental, social, and economic benefits for emerging regions. Water reuse can improve investment costs and energy, contributing to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and eliminating pressure by substituting abstraction, and reducing the burden of discharge of effluent into highly regulated environments.


While many communities in South Africa scrabble to access reliable potable water in rural areas, the densely populated urban areas with varied water demand requirements, share the same problem with a heightened risk of collapsing an already fragile infrastructure system. Potential for larger implementation and innovation influencing wastewater reuse based on knowledge and experience are recommended to facilitate efficient planning and design of wastewater reuse systems.


Globally, MEB has been recognized for decades as a key partner for sustainable water technology and management in water scarce environments, and we continue to advocate and champion the wide-scale implementation of advanced wastewater reuse solutions in South Africa.

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