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Discussion papers

Theme 1: Technology, Efficiency and Integration

This theme has been developed in the knowledge that we already have the technology to produce water of any quality to meet the requirements of a wide range of recycling opportunities.  The challenge often faced, however, is how to optimise these technologies to achieve the required quality of water that is fit for purpose.

This theme suggests topics that all relate to improving efficiency and integration with the aim of developing sustainable water recycling solutions.

Suggested research topics include:

  • Management of salt and saline effluents in water recycling
  • Improved on-line monitoring processes
  • Optimisation of existing process technologies and trains
  • Optimal integration of source waters, technologies and end uses
  • Innovative and novel technologies for water recycling

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Theme 2: Risk Management and Validation

This theme has been developed to further research into the assessment and management of the risks when reclaimed water is returned to the water cycle. Much of the theme discussion is related to validation of the performance of the technology applied in water recycling schemes.

The theme also identifies that the communication of risk issues relevant to the provision of safe, reliable and affordable reclaimed water are best managed with the appropriate involvement of four key groups of stakeholders; the water professionals, the policy and regulatory decision makers, the independent science researchers, and the consumers.

Suggested research topics include:

  • Toxicology and chemistry
  • Measurement and assessment of pathogens
  • Risk assessment and communication
  • Policy and Practice

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Theme 3: Social, Institutional and Economic Challenges

Water recycling has assumed a recognised and important role in the portfolio of water management strategies in metropolitan and regional areas.  The social, economic and institutional components of water recycling are pivotal to achieving sustainability in Australia.

The theme notes that recent national appraisals of the state of urban water reform, inclusive of water recycling, found that research was deficient in social, institutional and economic factors.  The reviews concluded that improved understanding in these research areas is central to increasing the level of recycling application and acceptance.

Suggested research topics include:

  • Decision support (institutions and governance)
  • Prioritised investment (economics of water recycling)
  • Implementation and evaluation (social psychology research into water recycling)

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Theme 4: Sustainability in Water Recycling

This theme proposes that by understanding the complexities of water recycling, and using the principles of sustainability as a platform, more effective outcomes for the water sector will be achieved.

Central to this theme is the proposal that water recycling should align with national and international Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) initiatives to help ensure sustainable water recycling systems. The theme also suggests research topics that are focussed on the adoption of technologies to achieve more effective and yet sustainable water recycling initiatives.

Suggested research topics include:

  • Alignment of water recycling with national and international Life Cycle Assessment initiatives
  • Management of salts and recovery of nutrients
  • Expanded use of low energy and energy recovery systems
  • Reduction and reuse of chemicals and consumables in water recycling
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