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How Governance Regimes Shape the Implementation of Water Reuse Schemes

KWR Watercycle Research Institute, P.O. Box 1072, 3430 BB Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
Cranfield Water Science Institute, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK
Cranfield Institute for Resilient Futures, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK
Centre Tecnològic de Manresa, Plaça de la Ciència 2, 08243 Manresa, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Naddeo
Water 2016, 8(12), 605;
Received: 26 October 2016 / Revised: 7 December 2016 / Accepted: 14 December 2016 / Published: 20 December 2016
The governance dimensions of water reuse scheme development and operation, such as policies and regulatory frameworks, and public involvement and stakeholder collaboration, can serve to both facilitate and constrain wider adoption of water reuse practices. This paper explores the significance and underlying structure of the key governance challenges facing the water reuse sector in Europe. It presents empirical evidence from interviews and focus group sessions conducted at four water reuse schemes: an indirect potable reuse scheme at Torreele (Belgium), the urban reuse of treated municipal wastewater at the London Olympic Park (United Kingdom) and at Sabadell (Spain), and the reuse of agro-industrial effluent for irrigation at Capitanata (Italy). The findings underscore the importance of clarity in policy arrangements around water reuse, as well as of the financial competitiveness of reuse projects compared to alternative water supply options. Operators of water reuse schemes expressed a preference for water quality standards, which focus on appropriateness for use rather than over-emphasise the waters’ origin so that unnecessary treatment and costs can be avoided. Positive public support was widely acknowledged as an important factor in the success or failure of water reuse schemes. We conclude that constructive institutional relationships underpin many of the challenges faced by reuse scheme operators and that greater emphasis should be given to building confidence and gaining trust in water service providers through early identification of how governance regimes shape the viability of new schemes. View Full-Text
Keywords: governance; policy; public participation; stakeholder collaboration; water reuse governance; policy; public participation; stakeholder collaboration; water reuse
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Frijns, J.; Smith, H.M.; Brouwer, S.; Garnett, K.; Elelman, R.; Jeffrey, P. How Governance Regimes Shape the Implementation of Water Reuse Schemes. Water 2016, 8, 605.

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