Climate change and a growing population have created the need to find innovative and sustainable methods to managing our water resources. Although recycling effluent for drinking is an emotive issue, it may need to play a much greater part in the water management cycle.

At Water & Environment 2011: The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management’s Annual Conference, Dr Nick Voulvoulis, from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London, will be addressing whether sustainable water use will mean drinking treated effluent.

Dr Voulvoulis will examine the sustainability of continuing to consider drinking water and wastewater to be separate issues, despite sewage effluents being treated to almost drinking water standards anyway. He will argue that the direct reuse of wastewater as input to drinking water treatment is the only way to meet sustainability criteria and produce overall environmental benefits.

Dr Voulvoulis says: “Public perception aside, it seems a good idea – why waste all that high level treatment and carbon input simply to pour it out into a river, which in many cases may be more polluted? It might be more environmentally sound to combine the wastewater and drinking water treatment plants.”

As part of an extensive conference programme looking at the challenges facing the water and environmental community, his paper will examine some of the scientific and policy issues and practical considerations involved in understanding how water re-use schemes can be sustainable.

Water & Environment 2011: CIWEM’s Annual Conference will focus on the Big Society and aims to provide a comprehensive response to the Government’s Programme.  The event takes place on 6th and 7th April 2011 and will include a mix of keynote speakers, offered papers, exhibitions and networking opportunities that will make this the key event for water and environment professionals.

Richard Benyon MP, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, and Tony Juniper, environmentalist and former Executive Director of Friends of the Earth are just two of the confirmed keynote speakers to give their response to the Government’s programme. For more information, go to http://www.ciwem.org/events/annual-conference.aspx.

Source: CIWEM www.ciwem.org

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