Research on Water Recycling and Reuse

Research actively contributes to the development and success of water reuse schemes in Europe. And for this reason, one of our missions at WRE is to promote research and innovation on water reuse across Europe.

Below you will find highlights of research projects that are taking place in Europe and beyond, and a focus on recently published research articles on water reuse.

If you are involved in research and development on water reuse, and would like to let our community know on this page, contact us at:

Projects selection


Decision support-based approach for sustainable water reuse application in agricultural production

The objective of the DWSAP project is to develop modular cost- and energy-efficient wastewater treatment systems specifically designed for wastewater reuse that safeguard public health, environmental and soil quality and long-term agronomic the context of crops irrigation. Continue reading >>

Timeline: 2019 – 2022

Funding: PRIMA Programme supported by the European Union.

Budget: 2,000,000€

Coordinator: ARO, Volcani Center, Israel.

Project Website:

Twitter: @DSWAP1

indUstry water-utiLiTy symbIosis for a sMarter wATer society

Ultimate aims to become a catalyst of a particular type of industrial symbiosis – henceforth termed “Water Smart Industrial Symbiosis” (WSIS) – in which water/wastewater plays a key role both as a reusable resource per se but also as a vector for energy and materials to be extracted, treated, stored and reused within a dynamic socio-economic and business oriented industrial ecosystem.. Continue reading >>

Timeline: 2020-2024

Funding: H2020 Programme supported by the European Union.

Coordinator: KWR, The Netherlands.

Project Website: Not available yet

AQUACYCLE is set to bring an eco-innovative wastewater treatment technology that will consist of anaerobic digestion, constructed wetlands and solar treatment for the cost-effective treatment of urban wastewater with minimal costs of operation and maximum environmental benefits. 

Timeline: 2019-2022 

Funding: 90% EU funding, 10% project co-financing

Budget: 2.8 million euros

Coordinator: Centre for Research and Technology, Hellas, Greece

Project Website:

Pilot operation of innovative photocatalytic nanofiltration technology for pollutant removal and water reuse of agro-industrial effluents.

The LIFE PureAgroH2O project (LIFE17 ENV/GR/000387) aims to develop and demonstrate, at industrial scale, a novel purification system for the sustainable management of wastewater effluents generated in the Fruit and Vegetable industry, the prevention of losses of various inorganic and organic contaminants to the environment and the recycling and reuse of the purified water. Continue reading >>

Timeline: 2018 -2022

Funding: Life Programme supported by the European Union.

Budget: 2.145.822 €  inc. 60% EU Contribution

Coordinator: Benaki Photopahtoligcal institute, Greece.

Project Website:

Twitter: @pureagroh2o

A full list of current and past Water Reuse projects is available in our Members area.

Articles selection - October 2020

Want to keep up to date on the latest research on water reuse? Every quater Water Reuse Europe selects for you five open-access trending articles on water reuse.

Enjoy the reading!

Title: Linking transformations of organic carbon to post-treatment performance in a biological water recycling system

Authors: Ziemba, C., Larivé, O., Reynaert, E., Huisman, T., Morgenroth, E.

In: Science of the Total Environment

Publisher: Science Direct

 Abstract:  Ozone, electrolysis and granular activated carbon (GAC) were examined as potential post-treatments to follow a household-scale biologically activated membrane bioreactor (BAMBi), treating a wash water containing trace urine and feces contamination. Each post-treatment was evaluated for abilities and reaction preferences to remove or transform dissolved organic carbon (DOC), chemical structures that contribute color, and assimilable organic carbon (AOC), which can support bacterial regrowth. Batch treatment with each technology demonstrated an ability to remove ≥95% DOC. Ozone demonstrated a reaction selectivity through increased reaction rates with larger compounds and color-contributing compounds. Electrolysis and GAC demonstrated generally less-selective reactivity. Adding post-treatments to full-scale systems reduced DOC (55–91%), AOC (34–62%), and color (75–98%), without significant reaction selectivity. These reductions in DOC and AOC were not linked to reduction of bacterial concentrations in treated water. Reductions in bacterial concentrations were observed with ozone and electrolysis, but this is credited to oxidation chemicals produced in these systems and not the removal or transformations of organic materials.

Article available here.

Title: Membrane-based processes used in municipal wastewater treatment for water reuse: State-of-the-art and performance analysis

Authors: Yang, J., Monnot, M., Ercolei, L. and Moulin, P.

In: Membranes

Publisher: MDPI

Abstract: Wastewater reuse as a sustainable, reliable and energy recovery concept is a promising approach to alleviate worldwide water scarcity. However, the water reuse market needs to be developed with long-term efforts because only less than 4% of the total wastewater worldwide has been treated for water reuse at present. In addition, the reclaimed water should fulfill the criteria of health safety, appearance, environmental acceptance and economic feasibility based on their local water reuse guidelines. Moreover, municipal wastewater as an alternative water resource for non-potable or potable reuse, has been widely treated by various membrane-based treatment processes for reuse applications. By collecting lab-scale and pilot-scale reuse cases as much as possible, this review aims to provide a comprehensive summary of the membrane-based treatment processes, mainly focused on the hydraulic filtration performance, contaminants removal capacity, reuse purpose, fouling resistance potential, resource recovery and energy consumption. The advances and limitations of different membrane-based processes alone or coupled with other possible processes such as disinfection processes and advanced oxidation processes, are also highlighted. Challenges still facing membrane-based technologies for water reuse applications, including institutional barriers, financial allocation and public perception, are stated as areas in need of further research and development.

Article available here.

transparent bar graph with water

Title: Life cycle assessment of cucumber irrigation: Unplanned water reuse versus groundwater resources in Tipaza (Algeria)

Authors: Azeb, L., Hartani, T., Aitmouheb, N., Pradeleix, L., Hajjaji, N. and Aribi, S.

In: Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination

Publisher: IWA Publishing

Abstract:  Effective quantitative and qualitative management of water for irrigation is crucial in many regions and the use of reclaimed water is a possible solution. Quantifying the impact of the use of such water is thus important. Using life cycle assessment methodology, this study analyzes the impact of water reuse irrigation and farmers’ practices in greenhouse cucumber production. Three scenarios concerned sources of water for irrigation and agricultural practices: the first scenario used surface water including reclaimed water, the second used groundwater. The third scenario resembled the first but also accounted for fertilizer application based on theoretical cucumber requirements. The third scenario showed 35% less fertilizer is required than the quantities farmers actually use. Our results show that the higher environmental impact of irrigation using reclaimed water than using groundwater is mainly due to over-fertilization. Comparison of the first and third scenarios also showed that the reduction in the environmental impact under the third scenario was significant. We conclude that LCA is a useful tool to compare the impacts of different water sources and farmers’ irrigation/fertilization management practices, and in particular, that the quantity of nutrients in reclaimed water should be deducted from the actual amount applied by the farmers. 

Article available here.

water droplet with a reflection

Title: Analysis of barriers and opportunities for reclaimed wastewater use for agriculture in Europe

Authors: Mesa-Pérez, E. and Berbel, J.

In: Water (Switzerland)

Publisher: MDPi

Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of the perception regarding reclaimed wastewater reuse in agriculture conducted in the European Union regions. The analysis is based upon a SWOT framework and applies a cluster analysis to reduce the dimension of the responses enabling an assessment of the different perceptions of water reuse. More than one hundred key actors identified among the regions participated in the evaluation of the relevance of aspects identified. The results indicate some groups of countries according to natural conditions (water scarcity) and the strategic role of agriculture as a key factor to determine agent’s perceptions and attitudes. The results indicate that the forthcoming EU regulation of water reuse should focus in the problems of the perceived high cost of reclaimed water for farmers and the sanitary risk perception for irrigated crops by consumers as the critical points for fostering the use of reclaimed water in agriculture and the need for regional implementation of the global regulatory framework.

 Article available here.

water drop with circles

Title: Evaluating treatment requirements for recycled water to manage well clogging during aquifer storage and recovery: A case study in the werribee formation, Australia

Authors: Vanderzalm, J.L., Page, D.W., Barry, K.E. and Gonzalez, D.

In: Water (Switzerland)

Publisher: MDPi

Abstract: Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is the intentional recharge of water to suitable aquifers for subsequent beneficial use or to achieve environmental benefits. Well injection techniques for MAR, such as Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR), rely on implementing appropriate design and defining the operational parameters to minimise well clogging and maintain sustainable rates of recharge over the long term. The purpose of this study was to develop water quality targets and pre-treatment requirements for recycled water to allow sustained recharge and recovery in a medium-coarse siliceous aquifer. The recharge water is a blend of 40% Class A recycled water and 60% reverse osmosis (RO)-treated Class A recycled water. Four source waters for MAR were evaluated: (1) this blend with no further treatment, and this blend with additional treatment using: (2) a 20 μm sediment cartridge filter, (3) a 5 μm sediment cartridge filter, or (4) a 5 μm granular activated carbon (GAC) cartridge filter. All four treatment options were also further disinfected with chlorine. The four blended and treated recycled waters were used in laboratory columns packed with aquifer material under saturated conditions at constant temperature (20.7◦C ) with light excluded for up to 42 days. Substantial differences in the changes in hydraulic conductivity of the columns were observed for the different treatments within 14 days of the experiment, despite low turbidity (<2 NTU) of the blend waters. After 14 days, the GAC-treated water had a 7% decline in hydraulic conductivity, which was very different from the other three blend waters, which had declines of 39-52%. Based on these results and consistent with previous studies, a target biodegradable dissolved organic carbon (BDOC) level of <0.2 mg/L was recommended to ensure a biologically stable source of water to reduce clogging during recharge.

Article available here.

Our full database of research papers is available in the Members Area.