Water, Sewage & Effluent May-June 2017 - Page 11

A ccording to the United Nations forecast in 2013, the world’s population will increase from 7.2 billion to 8.1 billion in 2025, with most growth in developing countries and more than half in Africa. By 2050, it will reach 9.6 billion worldwide. Of these, come 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with acute water scarcity, while two-thirds of the world’s population could be undergoing severe water restrictions. This dire situation can no longer be ignored, as the existing water resources are increasingly coming under stress owing to growing water demand exponential to the population growth. Desalination has become a buzzword and the reuse of water has become an attractive option for water augmentation owing to increased efficacy of treatment methods and reduced costs, coupled with the fact that this water source is readily available and near the point of application. Rapid population growth, urbanisation, and the fickleness of conventional water source sustainability (impacted by climate change and source pollution), remain key drivers for water reuse and is spurring large-scale interest in and the application of water reclamation and reuse of wastewater to sustain development and economic growth in the region. Water reclamation plants have sprung up around the country and include Beaufort West (direct potable reuse – DPR), George (indirect potable reuse – IPR), and Mossel Bay (reuse for industrial purposes), while direct potable reuse options in Durban (eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality), Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, and Hermanus are at an advanced planning stage. In this regard, water reuse for potable purposes involves the reclamation of wastewater for drinking purposes after it has undergone several treatment processes to produce water that is safe for human consumption and use. While direct water reuse entails the reuse of treated wastewater or effluent by direct transfer from the production site to the site of the new application, indirect water reuse comprises reclaiming treated wastewater from surface water or groundwater where it was discharged with the intention of reuse, before being abstracted for reuse at a new or different site of beneficial application. Aims of the project Water Sewage & Effluent May/June 2017 The project aims to document the status of water reuse for potable applications (direct and indirect) for planning and regulatory purposes. It also seeks to develop a database of direct and indirect potable reuse potential of South African towns. Standardised terminology for water reuse needs to be developed that is clear and comprehensible. This includes direct potable reuse as well as indirect potable reuse, to generate trust and confidence within both stakeholders and the public. Through using the outcome of the terminology and public perception research, effective messaging and communications materials can be developed for different stakeholders and the public in general. The project aims to develop water quality monitoring programmes and guidelines. These will comprise constituents and criteria that will necessitate overseeing, including analytical methods, time lines in which to obtain results, dependability of method employed, detection limits, frequency, and costs of analyses. The focus should be on online (real time) measurements to ensure that all the required process measures are intact. Also, the project will produce a succinct guideline document for use by municipalities and water professionals, integrating all the above aims. 9