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Environmental Benefits and Economical Sustainability of Urban Wastewater Reuse for Irrigation—A Cost-Benefit Analysis of an Existing Reuse Project in Puglia, Italy

1
Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università degli Studi di Palermo, 90128 Palermo, Italy
2
Qanat Engineering Srl, 90142 Palermo, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(10), 2926; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102926
Received: 14 September 2020 / Revised: 14 October 2020 / Accepted: 15 October 2020 / Published: 20 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Wastewater Treatment and Reuse)
Besides benefits associated to increased water availability for irrigation, reuse projects of urban water can also provide positive environmental impacts, as they contribute to improve water quality of the receiving bodies by diverting wastewater from their outlet. This represents a typical win-win situation where significant synergies can be achieved between urban and agricultural sector, and the environment. These favorable conditions, however, do not necessarily imply that water reuse is either feasible from an economic perspective nor that the underlying supply chain is going to be triggered, if certain conditions are not met. Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) is considered a sound, theoretically well-grounded tool to analyze the financial and economical sustainability of an investment. The paper presents the CBA of an existing reuse scheme in Puglia, in southern Italy, reclaiming wastewater for irrigation from a coastal area with growing recreational, beach-related activities. Supported by operational data, official statistics and sector documents, the CBA reveals that in almost all scenarios the existence of environmental benefits must be invoked in order to consider the project economically sustainable. Coherent screening of the different impacts, isolating the ones that are applicable to the specific case-study, shows that these benefits are mainly non-use benefits related to the aesthetic enjoyment of clean water in the reclaimed stretch of coastline where wastewater discharge may no longer take place or take place in a way that significantly reduce seawater pollution. View Full-Text
Keywords: wastewater reuse; cost-benefit analysis; environmental benefits; recreational benefits; coastal area wastewater reuse; cost-benefit analysis; environmental benefits; recreational benefits; coastal area
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MDPI and ACS Style

Arena, C.; Genco, M.; Mazzola, M.R. Environmental Benefits and Economical Sustainability of Urban Wastewater Reuse for Irrigation—A Cost-Benefit Analysis of an Existing Reuse Project in Puglia, Italy. Water 2020, 12, 2926. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102926

AMA Style

Arena C, Genco M, Mazzola MR. Environmental Benefits and Economical Sustainability of Urban Wastewater Reuse for Irrigation—A Cost-Benefit Analysis of an Existing Reuse Project in Puglia, Italy. Water. 2020; 12(10):2926. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102926

Chicago/Turabian Style

Arena, Claudio; Genco, Mario; Mazzola, Mario R. 2020. "Environmental Benefits and Economical Sustainability of Urban Wastewater Reuse for Irrigation—A Cost-Benefit Analysis of an Existing Reuse Project in Puglia, Italy" Water 12, no. 10: 2926. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102926

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