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Let’s act responsibly: it’s up to us to save clean water and ensure wastewater isn’t contaminated

The prolonged drought that Catalonia has been suffering for almost 3 years has forced substantial changes in the models for managing drinking water and related activities. Up until 2021, 85% of the water supplied came from rivers and reservoirs, a figure which has currently dropped to 50%. In the last 2 years, there has been a significant push towards desalination and water reuse.

Removing salt from seawater is technically feasible, but the process consumes a great deal of energy and produces waste laden with sludge and salts that are difficult to treat.

Reused or reclaimed water is wastewater that receives additional treatment, is not discharged into the sea and is fed back into the water distribution system. This is treated water and it is ideal for industrial, municipal, agricultural and environmental uses, as well as for recharging the aquifers that help us better maintain river flows and water reserves. Water reuse makes it possible to give new life to this essential resource and is a clear case of circular economy.

Climate forecasts show worrying rainfall shortage trends in the Mediterranean basin, and technical solutions such as water reuse are a good solution. However, it is vital that we use drinking water responsibly and work to ensure that there are no unnecessary discharges into the sewer system to contaminate wastewater. The presence of solids and unwanted substances in wastewater makes treatment and reclamation processes enormously expensive.