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

The SUGGEREIX project aims to integrate the information related to water quality management in wastewater recycling processes and to generate new knowledge that will encourage the development of standardised reuse criteria. Continue reading >>

Timeline: 2020 

Funding: Catalan Water Agency (77%), Eurecat Technological Center, the Catalan Water Partnership, the Cetaqua Technological Center, the Catalan Research Institute of Water (ICRA), the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

Budget: 321,727 euros

Coordinator: Eurecat Technology Center, Spain.

Project Website: Not available

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 - July 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!

Arid Inland Community Survey on Water Knowledge, Trust, and Potable Reuse. I: Description of Findings

Authors: Distler, L.N. and Scruggs, C.E.         

In: Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management                         

Publisher: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)     


Planned potable water reuse has the potential to improve the sustainability and reliability of water supplies, but implementation has faced public acceptance challenges. Although the US Department of the Interior has predicted that hot spots of conflict over water are highly likely in the arid inland western US, significant knowledge gaps exist regarding public perceptions of potable reuse and understanding of water-related topics in this context. This study aims to fill these gaps with a large-scale (n=1,831) survey in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to determine public acceptance of two types of potable reuse and collect data on the population’s climate and water-related knowledge, water use at home, level of trust in institutions, and demographics. The survey was developed and refined through a series of community focus groups and debriefing sessions, and the response rate was 46%. This population had higher overall levels of acceptance of potable reuse and awareness of water scarcity-related issues compared with coastal populations from other studies, with implications for design of education and outreach programming.

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Arid Inland Community Survey on Water Knowledge, Trust, and Potable Reuse. II: Predictive Modeling.

Author: Distler, L.N. and Scruggs, C.E.

In: Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management             

Publisher: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)


Demographic and contextual factors have been shown to influence acceptance of water reuse but have not been adequately studied in an arid inland context. The authors conducted a survey of 4,000 water utility customers in Albuquerque, New Mexico, (response rate=46%) on acceptance of two potable reuse scenarios, trust in institutions, water scarcity-related topics, and demographic information. Using ordered logistic regression models, the predictive power of demographic factors on acceptance of direct potable reuse (DPR) and indirect potable reuse (IPR) was investigated. It is demonstrated that demographic data can be used to predict probabilities of potable reuse acceptance with reasonable accuracy. Chi-square tests of independence were then used to further examine the relationships among less-accepting demographic groups and their levels of trust in institutions, prior awareness of potable reuse, and knowledge of water scarcity in the region. This study intends to fill knowledge gaps related to arid inland perspectives on potable water reuse and related topics, and proposes an approach to enable creation of inclusive public dialogue and design of tailored education and outreach programming. 

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transparent bar graph with waterReclaimed Wastewater to Irrigate Olive Groves and Vineyards: Effects on Soil Properties

Author: De Las Heras, J. and Mañas, P.


Publisher: MDPI


Having drinking water is one of the sustainable development goals (SDG no. 6) that is not always easy to ensure, especially in countries like Spain or arid regions marked by water deficit. The reuse of treated water should be considered when planning water resources, but it is necessary to verify that this effectiveness is applicable to real situations. A field trial was carried out in several study areas distributed in agricultural parcels of south east Spain. Soils from two olive groves and two vineyards irrigated with treated wastewater (TW) were monitored for to compare with other plantations irrigated with conventional well water (WW) since July 2016–September 2018. Five different irrigation water sources were analyzed (two from well water and three from reclaimed wastewater). No microbiological, metal content, toxicity or organic compounds (PAHs and PCBs) in the studied water samples were detected and reclaimed municipal wastewater was comparable in quality to the conventional sources at all the demonstration sites, except for higher electrical conductivity. Soils irrigated with TW had higher values for electrical conductivity, N, K, Na, Mg, Mn and cation exchange capacity. The main precautions to be considered when irrigating with treated wastewater are its salt content and its tendency to high values of electrical conductivity. Otherwise, they are an interesting contribution of nutrients to soil. Hence adopting this water type to irrigate orchards, vineyards and olive groves could help to save primary water resources. 

Article available here

water droplet with a reflectionTreatment of winery wastewater with a multistage constructed wetland system for irrigation reuse

Author: Milani, M., Consoli, S., Marzo, A., Pino, A., Randazzo, C., Barbagallo, S. and Cirelli, G.L.

In: Water

Publisher: MDPI


This paper reports a study on the performance of a multistage constructed wetland (CW) system adopted for winery wastewater and on the analysis of its suitability for irrigation reuse. The CW system treats about 3 m3·day-1 of wastewater produced by a small winery located in Sicily (insular Italy). Wastewater samples were collected at the CW inlet and outlet for physical-chemical and microbiological quality characterization. CW efficiency was evaluated on the basis of water quality improvement and of the achievement of Italian and EU irrigation reuse regulation limits. The CW system showed Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) mean removal rates of about 81% and 69%, and a maximum removal of about 99% (for both COD and TSS) occurred during grape harvest phase. The CW removal efficiencies for nutrients were 56% for TN and 38% for PO4-P, considering their low average concentrations at CW inlet. The CW system evidenced an effluent average quality compatible with the limits imposed by the Italian regulation and EU proposal regulation on the minimum requirement for water reuse. The CW vegetated area showed regular growth and vegetative development; phytotoxicity phenomena were not detected. The results of the study suggest the important role of CW systems in the treatment of winery wastewater and for their subsequent reuse in agriculture.

Article available here

water drop with circlesCombining industrial and urban water-reuse concepts for increasing the water resources in water-scarce regions

Authors: Bauer, S., Linke, H.J. and Wagner, M.

In: Water Environment Research

Publisher: Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Water scarcity is a huge challenge for industrial and urban developments. As such developments are based on a secure water supply, strategies to ensure the required water quantities must be put into effect. In this context, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important factor due to the worsening of pollution and climate change. The integrated industrial–urban water-reuse concept (IU-WA-RE) links gray and green infrastructures by providing reuse water for different infrastructural purposes. Municipal and industrial wastewater is treated separately in different water resource recovery facilities. As a baseline the SEMIZENTRAL approach with the Resource and Recovery Center (RRC) and the Industrial Wastewater Management Concept with a focus on Reuse (IW2MC→R) for the industrial wastewater treatment are taken into account. These approaches are new concepts for wastewater treatment “fit for purpose.” IU-WA-RE combines the water-reuse concepts by linking reuse water flows between the urban area and the adjacent industrial park, but focuses not on a production internal water reuse. The concept is designed to offer a holistic strategy to increase the water-reuse potential and thus the water resources. It offers a solution to cover the lack of water requirements in urban areas. It is therefore possible to drive sustainable urban developments. Practitioner points: The water-reuse potential increases enormously by combining industrial and municipal wastewater flows. Industrial wastewater should be treated “fit for purpose” and applied in the urban area since the municipal wastewater is not sufficient to cover its own water requirements for infrastructural purposes. Water-reuse for infrastructural purposes increases water resources. The application of reuse water drives sustainable urban developments.

Article available here.

sewage treatment plant aerial view

Time series analysis of water use and indirect reuse within a HUC-4 basin (Wabash) over a nine year period.

Authors: Wiener, M.J., Moreno, S., Jafvert, C.T. and Nies, L.F.

In: Science of the Total Environment

Publisher: Elsevier


Anthropogenic water use and reuse represent major components of the water cycle. In the context of climate change, water reuse and recycling are considered necessary components for an integrated water management approach. Unplanned, or de facto, indirect water reuse occurs in most of the U.S. river systems, however, there is little real-time documentation of it. Despite the fact that there are national and state agencies that systematically collect data on water withdrawals and wastewater discharges, their databases are organized and managed in a way that makes it challenging to use them for water resource management analysis. The ability to combine reported water data to perform large scale analysis about water use and reuse is severely limited. In this paper, we apply a simple but effective methodology to complete a time series watershed-scale analysis of water use and unplanned indirect reuse for the Wabash River Watershed. Results document the occurrence of indirect water reuse, ranging from 3% to 134%, in a water-rich area of the U.S. The time series analysis shows that reported data effectively describe the water use trends through nine years, from 2009 to 2017, clearly reflecting both anthropogenic and natural events in the watershed, such as the retirement of thermoelectric power plants, and the occurrence of an extreme drought in 2012. We demonstrate the feasibility and significance of using available water datasets to perform large scale water use analysis, describe limitations encountered in the process, and highlight areas for improvement in water data management.

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