Necessity and Chances of Decentralized Sanitation and Reuse from the Point of a Country with Water Shortage

As many countries are suffering from water shortage, especially those in North Africa and the Middle East, municipal and industrial wastewater collection and treatment will provide an enormous market in the future.

by A. Zaidi

In many developing countries with water shortage wastewater is recognized as a significant, growing and reliable water resource. In these countries, wastewater production is the only potential water source which will increase as the population grows and the demand on fresh water increases. However, municipal and industrial wastewaters are almost entirely discharged untreated into soil or surface water bodies. As a result, rivers with low water flows and groundwater are dangerously polluted exceeding water quality standards. Consequently, officials and decision makers at all levels are stepping up their efforts not only to control industrial and municipal wastewater discharges but also to enhance wastewater recycling and reuse in order to reduce the consumption of the scarce fresh water resources.
Based on available data, the situation of water and wastewater in Morocco as a country of more than 30 million inhabitants and with water shortage is analysed. Little effort has been done to solve the problems associated to the domestic and industrial wastewater discharges. The actual deficient wastewater treatment plants treat no more than 5 percent of the nearly 1 billion m3 domestic wastewater. Statistics concerning industrial wastewater are not available. These wastewaters are threatening the public health and the scarce water resources as well. Taking into account the geographic warm conditions, the population composition (50 % in rural areas), the low level of know-how and the lack of professional training, and the funds available, the chances of decentralized wastewater treatment systems are excellent, if affordable technologies are offered and appropriate operation and management systems are established.

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published: TU München - Lehrstuhl für Siedlungswasserwirtschaft, 2002 - Water - The Essence of Life, But Elusive to Many
Symposium Firma Huber (September 2002), 9|2002
Keywords: Collection, Landfilling, Material Recovery, Policy Tax Instruments, Hazardous Waste