GWP Toolbox - C3.02 Recycling and reuse
Recycling and reuse is a useful planning and management tool at the river basin level. Urban effluent can be treated and returned to aquifers or rivers for dilution by natural flows and re-abstraction downstream (although there is a need to ensure the quality of returning effluent will not impose ecological or health risks). Treated effluent from industrial or municipal treatment plants may be piped directly for use in agriculture and horticulture (although the level of treatment should be adequate to minimise health risks, and recycled sewage only used for crops with low uptake of water/pathogens). Irrigation return water from drainage canals can be reused if mixed with fresh water. Water returned to rivers or used for groundwater recharge should be controlled in both quality and quantity by discharge permits or other regulatory tool, which take into account the needs of the aquatic environment and water available for dilution.