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United Nations Environment Programme
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Newsletter and Technical Publications
<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

8.4 Reuse (Topic d)

The reuse of wastewater in agriculture and aquaculture has much potential and is used in many other regions. It can replace the use of limited freshwater for the irrigation of crops or be used as an additional source to increase production of crops and in the forestry industry. Aquaculture is becoming popular and may provide additional economic opportunities in developing countries. Nutrients found in wastewater discharges, that normally pollute the environment, are beneficial when used with irrigation and aquaculture applications. However the reuse of wastewater is currently not practiced in the Pacific Region. With many SIDS experiencing limited water resources the reuse of wastewater would be attractive by conserving water and reducing pollution potential to marine and surface water resources.

There is potential in Fiji to use wastewater to irrigate sugarcane and/or for fish farming that has been recently established there. However these rural activities are generally remote from urban centres where treated wastewater is available. SIDS priorities to provide appropriate and affordable sanitation facilities should explore all possibilities to reuse wastewater where ever possible.

In many SIDS and in especially in Papua New Guinea there are strong traditional feelings against the reuse of wastewater. Much talking and convincing would be required to introduce this concept. The issue of 'most appropriate' technology needs to be explored and thoroughly discussed with potential users before proceeding with any new development. Also irrigation is not practice extensively in the Pacific thus water for irrigation use is not a high priority in most SIDS.

It should be noted in Kiribati, Nauru and Majuro saltwater is reticulated to households for toilet flushing to reduce the stress on limited freshwater resources. However the potential to reuse human waste mixed with saltwater would be limited to non irrigation usage.

 

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