Wastewater reuse: a solution with a future

Usine de recyclage des eaux usées à Windhoeck - Photo © Veolia

Christophe Maquet
Executive Vice-President Africa and Middle East, Veolia

A combination of water stress, fast-growing populations and the climate emergency means many African countries struggle to provide their people with sufficient clean water. For these countries, in addition to saving water, the solutions lie not so much in sharing a scarce resource as in turning to non-conventional alternative water resources, for example seawater or wastewater in place of raw water from rivers or aquifers. It is little surprise that we are seeing the emergence of ever more projects to give water second life. Reusing wastewater seems to be the most eff ective bulwark against scarcity. Recycled wastewater is the only resource that increases in step with economic growth. It is a virtuous solution that protects nature by limiting the risks of pollution discharges into the environment. It is a circular economy model that strengthens countries’ water self-suffi ciency y giving them access to a reliable resource located within their territory, and therefore protected from adventurous neighbors.

Veolia has developed innovative solutions for reusing wastewater in industry and agriculture as well as the home. One of the pioneers is the Namibian capital of Windhoek, where 35% of the drinking water needs for the city and its surrounding area are met using recycled wastewater. Is this a pointer to the future?