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The Environmental Benefits Of Water Recycling And Reuse

J. Anderson

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The world's supply of fresh water is finite and is threatened by pollution. Rising demands for water to supply agriculture, industry and cities are leading to competition over the allocation of limited fresh water resources. This paper examines how water reuse increases the available supply of water and enables human needs to be met with less fresh water. The paper is illustrated with water reuse case studies in agriculture, urban areas, industry and water resource supplementation in Australia and other countries. The links between water reuse and sustainable water management are examined. Water conservation and water reuse produce substantial environmental benefits, arising from reductions in water diversions, and reductions in the impacts of wastewater discharges on environmental water quality. Some examples are presented demonstrating the environmental benefits in quantitative terms. The paper also describes the economic and environmental benefits identified in a number of recent integrated water cycle planning studies in Australia.