Work package 4: Promote utilization potential of FlexTreat solutions Implementation of innovations in water reuse - drivers and barriers


For the exploitation of the innovations aimed at in the FlexTreat project, some important boundary conditions and previous experiences of innovation projects have to be considered. Wastewater reuse is one of the possible options for presenting alternative water resources, especially in regions with water scarcity, in addition to seawater desalination, which can only be considered in coastal regions or when brackish water is available. The development of water use in Europe, including drivers and barriers for further development, has already been extensively analyzed. The main barrier to realizing the development potential, which was already analyzed in 2005 on a model basis, was identified as the lack of a uniform legal framework and suitable financing instruments. In an analysis of the cost structure of water utilization systems, the complexity of a storage and distribution system in particular was found to be relevant.

European legislation is expected to create better opportunities for the use of water reuse technologies both in Germany and throughout Europe if this legal framework is implemented appropriately. However, the consideration of for example organic micropollutants and antibiotic resistance in the new legislation is considered insufficient by some institutions. FlexTreat addresses this aspect in order to achieve broader public and institutional acceptance of reuse.

Public acceptance of water reuse is a critical issue, especially when reuse is close to personal use.
For the exploitation of innovations internationally, the consideration of the respective valid legal regulations and local acceptance issues as well as an in-depth understanding of the respective project mechanisms is seen as a prerequisite. As Spain is the largest market for water reuse within Europe, FlexTreat focuses on Spain with regard to the exploitation of project results abroad. However, there is also potential for water reuse in the southern Mediterranean countries, which will be considered in the project. Global Water Intelligence has analyzed the status and development opportunities of the global market for municipal wastewater reuse and has shown considerable growth potential for many regions of the world.