• Water reuse
  • utilities
  • cities

The Reuse Opportunity

Organization International Water Association
Year 2018
Topics Resource Recovery and Reuse, Urban Water Management, Water & Environment, Water & society
Level of action Water & Sanitation services/ Utility level


Wastewater is a global problem. Today, around 80% of all wastewater is discharged untreated into rivers, lakes and oceans. It creates health and environmental hazards, and contributes to Greenhouse Gas emissions, including nitrous oxide and methane. These emissions are three times larger than those produced by conventional wastewater treatment activities. Recovering water, energy, nutrients and other precious materials embedded in wastewater is an opportunity for cities to transition to the circular economy and contribute to improved water security.

This report, The Reuse Opportunity: Cities seizing the reuse opportunity in circular economy, published by the International Water Association and OFID (the OPEC Fund for International Development), argues that decisive, urgent and large-scale action is needed to dramatically increase wastewater treatment, reuse and recycling. The report states that cities, as drivers of the global economy, must lead this resource revolution to enable a transition to a circular economy.