Special Issue "Water Security and Governance in Catchments"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 20105

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Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Fernando António Leal Pacheco
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Guest Editor
DG-CQVR-UTAD – Department of Geology, Chemistry Research Centre, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Quinta de Prados, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
Interests: groundwater management; groundwater contamination risk; water–rock interactions; groundwater flow modeling; groundwater–surface water interactions; land degradation and surface water quality; spatial decision support systems in public water supply planning; conjunctive use of water resources; water security
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Luís Filipe Sanches Fernandes
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CITAB—Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environment and Biological Sciences, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal
Interests: flood-detention basins; rainwater harvesting for drought effects attenuation; hydrologic modeling at the catchment scale; water resources management; quality data; integrated monitoring of climate and environmental impacts; sustainability in agri-food and forestry ecosystems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water scarcity, water pollution, and extreme events are increasing environmental and human health problems that require thorough attention worldwide. Taking the watershed as a representative unit for water management, the topic of water security and governance has become hot in the few past years and is now prominent in the political agenda of many countries. The concerns about water security are usually fourfold: (1) the continuous changing mosaic of water shortage related to the balance between availability and the access and demand for ever more water; (2) flooding (coastal, river, flash or glacier outburst floods), encompassing the causes, development, and impacts of flood events, as well as mitigation and restoration measures; and (3) the human dimensions of water security in relation to conventional (surface water and groundwater) and alternative (wastewater and desalination) sources. The discussion covers the multiple standpoints, such as politics, economics and finance, access, social equity, ethics, risk, adaptation, ecosystem services, and nexus challenges, among others; and (4) the vulnerability of water supply systems, assessed through relationships between public health and the quality, quantity, and reliability of the systems, as well as the public-health impacts of wastewater management and re-use.

The purpose of this Special Issue is therefore to bring scientists into a discussion on water security and governance and their implications to urban and rural supply of public water, as well as the prevention and mitigation of floods.                      .

Thank you very much for your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Fernando A.L. Pacheco
Prof. Dr. Luís Filipe Sanches Fernandes
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • soil degradation
  • water pollution
  • watershed, remote sensing
  • management

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Water-Secure River Basins: A Compromise of Policy, Governance and Management with the Environment
Water 2022, 14(9), 1329; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14091329 - 20 Apr 2022
Viewed by 384
Abstract
Water-secure basins are a lifesaving goal of society that can be accomplished if political and water authorities, stakeholders, and the general public are networked and committed to effectively improve water security, river basin management, and water resource policies and governance [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)

Research

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Article
Potential Impacts of Land Use Changes on Water Resources in a Tropical Headwater Catchment
Water 2021, 13(22), 3249; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223249 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 838
Abstract
The main objective of this study was to investigate the relationships between land use and future scenarios of land changes on water runoff and groundwater storage in an Environmental Protection Area (EPAs) watershed. The methodology was based on the application of the Soil [...] Read more.
The main objective of this study was to investigate the relationships between land use and future scenarios of land changes on water runoff and groundwater storage in an Environmental Protection Area (EPAs) watershed. The methodology was based on the application of the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) hydrological modelling to investigate flow simulations in current land use and in two future scenarios (forest and pasture). The performance of goodness-of-fit indicators in the calibration (NSE = 0.82, R2 = 0.85, PBIAS = 11.9% and RSR = 0.42) and validation (NSE = 0.70, R2 = 0.72, PBIAS = −4% and RSR = 0.55) was classified as good and very good, respectively. The model accurately reproduced the inter-annual distribution of rainfall. The spatial distribution of average annual surface flow, lateral flow, and groundwater flow were different between sub-basins. The future scenario on land use change to forest (FRSE) and pasture (PAST) differed during the year, with greater changes on rainy and dry seasons. FRSE increase of 64.5% in area led to decreased surface runoff, total runoff, and soil water; and increased lateral flow, groundwater, and evapotranspiration. The effect of the natural vegetation cover on soil moisture content is still unclear. The hydrological model indicated the main areas of optimal spatial water flow. Considering economic values, those areas should encourage the development of government policies based on incentive platforms that can improve environmental soil and water sustainability by establishing payment for environmental services (PES). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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Article
Water Resources and Governance Approaches: Insights for Achieving Water Security
Water 2021, 13(21), 3063; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13213063 - 02 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
Integrated river basin management (IRBM) has been proposed as a means to achieve water security (WS), maximizing economic and social well-being in an equitable manner and maintaining ecosystem sustainability. IRBM is regulated by a governance process that benefits the participation of different actors [...] Read more.
Integrated river basin management (IRBM) has been proposed as a means to achieve water security (WS), maximizing economic and social well-being in an equitable manner and maintaining ecosystem sustainability. IRBM is regulated by a governance process that benefits the participation of different actors and institutions; however, it has been difficult to reach a consensus on what good governance means and which governance perspective is better for achieving it. In this paper, we explore the concept of “good water governance” through the analysis of different governance approaches: experimental (EG), corporate (CG), polycentric (PG), metagovernance (MG) and adaptive (AG) governances. We used the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) water governance dimensions (effectiveness, efficiency and trust and engagement) as a “good enough water governance” that regards water governance as a process rather than an end in itself. Results indicate that each of the five governance theories presents challenges and opportunities to achieve a good governance process that can be operationalized through IRBM, and we found that these approaches can be adequately integrated if they are combined to overcome the challenges that their exclusive application implies. Our analysis suggests that a combination of AG and MG encompasses the OECD water governance dimensions, in terms of understanding “good enough water governance” as a process and a means to perform IRBM. In order to advance towards WS, the integration of different governance approaches must consider the context-specific nature of the river basin, in relation to its ecologic responses and socioeconomic characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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Article
A Novel Method to Assess the Impact of a Government’s Water Strategy on Research: A Case Study of Azraq Basin, Jordan
Water 2021, 13(15), 2138; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13152138 - 03 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1482
Abstract
Water scarcity drives governments in arid and semi-arid regions to promote strategies for improving water use efficiency. Water-related research generally also plays an important role in the same countries and for the same reason. However, it remains unclear how to link the implementation [...] Read more.
Water scarcity drives governments in arid and semi-arid regions to promote strategies for improving water use efficiency. Water-related research generally also plays an important role in the same countries and for the same reason. However, it remains unclear how to link the implementation of new government strategies and water-related research. This article’s principal objective is to present a novel approach that defines water-related research gaps from the point of view of a government strategy. The proposed methodology is based on an extensive literature review, followed by a systematic evaluation of the topics covered both in grey and peer-reviewed literature. Finally, we assess if and how the different literature sources contribute to the goals of the water strategy. The methodology was tested by investigating the impact of the water strategy of Jordan’s government (2008–2022) on the research conducted in the Azraq Basin, considering 99 grey and peer-reviewed documents. The results showed an increase in the number of water-related research documents from 37 published between 1985 and 2007 to 62 published between 2008 and 2018. This increase should not, however, be seen as a positive impact of increased research activity from the development of Jordan’s water strategy. In fact, the increase in water-related research activity matches the increasing trend in research production in Jordan generally. Moreover, the results showed that only about 80% of the documents align with the goals identified in the water strategy. In addition, the distribution of the documents among the different goals of the strategy is heterogeneous; hence, research gaps can be identified, i.e., goals of the water-strategy that are not addressed by any of the documents sourced. To foster innovative and demand-based research in the future, a matrix was developed that linked basin-specific research focus areas (RFAs) with the MWI strategy topics. In doing so, the goals that are not covered by a particular RFA are highlighted. This analysis can inspire researchers to develop and apply new topics in the Azraq Basin to address the research gaps and strengthen the connection between the RFAs and the strategy topics and goals. Moreover, the application of the proposed methodology can motivate future research to become demand-driven, innovative, and contribute to solving societal challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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Article
Spatial Variability of Water Resources State of Regions around the “Belt and Road”
Water 2021, 13(15), 2102; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13152102 - 31 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 657
Abstract
Water resource has become a key constraint for implementing the “Belt and Road” initiative which was raised by the Chinese government. Besides the study of spatial and temporal variability of precipitation, this study created a water hazard risk map along the “Belt and [...] Read more.
Water resource has become a key constraint for implementing the “Belt and Road” initiative which was raised by the Chinese government. Besides the study of spatial and temporal variability of precipitation, this study created a water hazard risk map along the “Belt and Road” zone through combined flood and drought data from 1985. Our results showed that South-Eastern Asia, southern China and eastern Southern Asia are areas with the most abundant precipitations, while floods in these areas are also the most serious. Northwest China, Western Asia, Northern Africa and Southern Asia are areas highly vulnerable to drought. Furthermore, the potential influence of flood and drought were also analyzed by associating with population distribution and corridor map. It reveals that China, South-Eastern Asia, Southern Asia, Western Asia and Northern Africa have the largest population number facing potential high water hazard risk. China–India–Burma Corridor and China–Indo-China Peninsula Corridor have the largest areas facing potential high water hazard risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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Article
Evaluation of the Stability and Suitable Scale of an Oasis Irrigation District in Northwest China
Water 2020, 12(10), 2837; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102837 - 13 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 759
Abstract
Oases support human activities in arid and semiarid regions, and their stability is important for regional sustainable development and water resource management. Water consumption is the major factor affecting the stability of oases. On the basis of remote sensing images, evaporation and socioeconomic [...] Read more.
Oases support human activities in arid and semiarid regions, and their stability is important for regional sustainable development and water resource management. Water consumption is the major factor affecting the stability of oases. On the basis of remote sensing images, evaporation and socioeconomic data, this study first evaluates the stability of the Dunhuang Oasis against the expansion of an oasis irrigation district and planting structure changes from 1987 to 2015. Next, it calculates a suitable area of the oasis irrigation district using water–energy balance theory. The results are as follows: (1) During the 1987–2015 period, with the expansion in the oasis irrigation area, the planting structure underwent a marked transformation from food crops to cash crops to orchards. Water consumption pattern likewise changed considerably. (2) The stability of the Dunhuang Oasis continued to weaken from 0.54 in 1987 until it reached a dangerously unstable level of 0.17 in 2010. With the implementation of water-saving measures and a water-transfer project, the stability of the Dunhuang Oasis irrigation district increased to a metastable level of 0.22 in 2015. (3) Setting the stability are 0.5 of a stable level and 0.75 of an extremely stable level, and the oasis irrigation district should be impractical and reduced by 168 and 241 km2 to attain a suitable oasis ecosystem scale. Hence, at present, the water-transfer project is the most practical way to increase allocated water resource to the oasis irrigation district for improving its stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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Article
A New Approach to Use Load Duration Curves to Evaluate Water Quality: A Study in the Doce River Basin, Brazil
Water 2020, 12(3), 811; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030811 - 14 Mar 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1535
Abstract
Although water availability depends both on qualitative and quantitative aspects, most studies focus only on one of these. Therefore, the goal here is to relate water quality and quantity with the construction of Load Duration Curves (LDC) and to estimate E. coli load [...] Read more.
Although water availability depends both on qualitative and quantitative aspects, most studies focus only on one of these. Therefore, the goal here is to relate water quality and quantity with the construction of Load Duration Curves (LDC) and to estimate E. coli load patterns in different flow conditions, seasons, and positions of two sub-basins of the Doce watershed (Brazil): Piracicaba and Piranga. A novel methodology is proposed in which the Burr XII distribution is adjusted to the LDC to compare all observed loads to their respective Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), allowing the estimation of the relative difference (RD) between these. Higher values of RD were observed for low flows for the Piracicaba basin, more urbanized, where point sources of pollution are the primary concern, reaching up to 99% of needed load reduction. In the Piranga basin, more agricultural, there was a broader RD variation, from 9% to 97% load reduction needed, which is an evidence of point sources of pollution combined with non-point sources. The new methodology can be used to estimate the load reduction of any pollutant and can be used by environmental agencies to identify effective practices to minimize and control pollution in different locations of the basins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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Article
Water Security Assessment of Groundwater Quality in an Anthropized Rural Area from the Atlantic Forest Biome in Brazil
Water 2020, 12(3), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030623 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1730
Abstract
The exploitation of natural resources has grown mainly due to the high rate of population growth that changed over time around the planet. Water is one of the most needed resources essential for survival. Despite all the efforts made to improve water security, [...] Read more.
The exploitation of natural resources has grown mainly due to the high rate of population growth that changed over time around the planet. Water is one of the most needed resources essential for survival. Despite all the efforts made to improve water security, an environmental impact related to anthropogenic influence remains of great concern, which is the alteration of surface and groundwater quality. In many regions around the world, there is limited or no access to rural and urban water supply while there is a need to improve sanitation facilities. This work evaluated the spatial distribution of groundwater and surface water quality as well as their changes in wet and dry seasons of the tropical climate in the Atlantic Forest Biome. The study area is under anthropogenic influence, which is in the municipality of Igarassú, Pernambuco State, Brazil. The analysis of the raw water was based on Standard Methods for Examination of Water and Wastewater, as referenced in the Brazilian Ministry of Health Consolidation Ordinance that sets standards for drinking water. The temporal analyses indicated a variation on water quality from the wet to the dry seasons, whereas the spatial results revealed deviations from the Brazilian’s Water Supply Standards for some physicochemical parameters. There was an increase in the values of some parameters during the wet season in some hydrological compartments. The anthropized rural area from the Atlantic Forest Biome is affecting the water quality. It is, therefore, necessary to develop environmental policies and put them into practice by implementing engineering projects that guarantee proper treatment for raw water in order to bring the water quality back to a good status in this region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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Article
Machine Learning to Evaluate Impacts of Flood Protection in Bangladesh, 1983–2014
Water 2020, 12(2), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020483 - 11 Feb 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2316
Abstract
Impacts of climate change adaptation strategies need to be evaluated using principled methods spanning sectors and longer time frames. We propose machine-learning approaches to study the long-term impacts of flood protection in Bangladesh. Available data include socio-economic survey and events data (death, migration, [...] Read more.
Impacts of climate change adaptation strategies need to be evaluated using principled methods spanning sectors and longer time frames. We propose machine-learning approaches to study the long-term impacts of flood protection in Bangladesh. Available data include socio-economic survey and events data (death, migration, etc.) from 1983–2014. These multidecadal data, rare in their extent and quality, provide a basis for using machine-learning approaches even though the data were not collected or designed to assess the impact of the flood control investments. We test whether the embankment has affected the welfare of people over time, benefiting those living inside more than those living outside. Machine-learning approaches enable learning patterns in data to help discriminate between two groups: here households living inside vs. outside. They also help identify the most informative indicators of discrimination and provide robust metrics to evaluate the quality of the model. Overall, we find no significant difference between inside/outside populations based on welfare, migration, or mortality indicators. However, we note a significant difference in inward/outward movement with respect to the embankment. While certain data gaps and spatial heterogeneity in sampled populations suggest caution in any conclusive interpretation of the flood protection infrastructure, we do not see higher benefits accruing to those living with higher levels of protection. This has implications for Bangladesh’s planning for future and more extreme climate futures, including the national Delta Plan, and global investments in climate resilient infrastructure to create positive social impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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Article
Combination of Ecological Engineering Procedures Applied to Morphological Stabilization of Estuarine Banks after Dredging
Water 2020, 12(2), 391; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020391 - 01 Feb 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1583
Abstract
Gravel extraction and upstream damming caused profound effects on the estuary of the Lima river (NW Portugal) which was reflected by the collapse of banks, leading further to the destruction of riparian vegetation. This led to consequences such as a progressive negative impact [...] Read more.
Gravel extraction and upstream damming caused profound effects on the estuary of the Lima river (NW Portugal) which was reflected by the collapse of banks, leading further to the destruction of riparian vegetation. This led to consequences such as a progressive negative impact on the preservation of salt marshes over several decades of this protected area, which continued even after the cessation of extraction activities. In this work, we present a restoration project combining civil engineering with soft soil engineering procedures and revegetation, along with two distinct segments, and follow the recovery process. The main intention of the study is to promote hydraulic roughness in order to dissipate energy from peak flows and tides, increasing accretion and indirectly the stimulation of plant succession and salt marsh recovery. We are able to observe that the built structures (an interconnected system of groynes, deflectors and rip-rap/gabion mattress) allowed the erosion process to be detained. However, they did not allow as much sediment as expected to be trapped. The colonization of species (plants) in brackish and tidal water was a difficulty posed by this project. A more extensive restoration of all estuarine areas and river mouths, namely to overcome the sediment deficit, will require proper land-use management at the catchment scale instead of local actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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Article
Influence of Small Hydroelectric Power Stations on River Water Quality
Water 2020, 12(2), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020312 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2730
Abstract
Hydropower electricity generation is considered one of the cheapest technologies regarding electricity generation costs, and it is the most traditional, clean, renewable energy source. However, despite the environmental benefits offered by hydropower, they also can have negative impacts and consequences in the environment [...] Read more.
Hydropower electricity generation is considered one of the cheapest technologies regarding electricity generation costs, and it is the most traditional, clean, renewable energy source. However, despite the environmental benefits offered by hydropower, they also can have negative impacts and consequences in the environment affecting water quality and disrupting river ecology. We investigated the environmental effects of four small hydropower plants (SPH) in north-west Spain by looking at the water quality of the four river stretches where the SPH plants are located. The physicochemical and biological characteristics of the water streams were analyzed, as well as the riparian ecological quality. Results showed that the presence of the hydropower plants did not significantly influence the physical and chemical characteristics of the water. There were no alterations of the benthic macroinvertebrate community at any of the plants except for one, and the riparian habitat was in general classified as good quality or close to natural conditions for all plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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Review

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Review
Water-Saving Agricultural Technologies: Regional Hydrology Outcomes and Knowledge Gaps in the Eastern Gangetic Plains—A Review
Water 2021, 13(5), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050636 - 27 Feb 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1070
Abstract
Increasing food demand has exerted tremendous stress on agricultural water usages worldwide, often with a threat to sustainability in agricultural production and, hence, food security. Various resource-conservation technologies like conservation agriculture (CA) and water-saving measures are being increasingly adopted to overcome these problems. [...] Read more.
Increasing food demand has exerted tremendous stress on agricultural water usages worldwide, often with a threat to sustainability in agricultural production and, hence, food security. Various resource-conservation technologies like conservation agriculture (CA) and water-saving measures are being increasingly adopted to overcome these problems. While these technologies provide some short- and long-term benefits of reduced labor costs, stabilized or increased crop yield, increased water productivity, and improved soil health at farm scale, their overall impacts on hydrology outcomes remain unclear at larger temporal and spatial scales. Although directly linked to the regional hydrological cycle, irrigation remains a less understood component. The ecological conditions arising from the hydrology outcomes of resource-conservation technologies are associated with sustainability in agricultural production. In this paper, the philosophies and benefits of resource-conservation technologies and expert perceptions on their impacts on temporal and spatial scales have been reviewed comprehensively focusing on regional hydrology outcomes in the Eastern Gangetic Plain (EGP). Due to data inadequacy and lack of knowledge-sharing among disciplines, little is yet known about actual water saving by these resource-conservation technologies and the level of their contribution in groundwater and surface water storage over large temporal and spatial scales. Inadequate knowledge of the hydrological effects of water applied in the agricultural field leads to the implementation of water management policy based on local perspectives only, often with the possibility of deteriorating the water-scarcity situation. Therefore, multidisciplinary future research should quantify regional hydrology outcomes by measuring the components of regional water balance in order to develop a proper water management policy for sustainable agricultural production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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Review
Responsible Water Reuse Needs an Interdisciplinary Approach to Balance Risks and Benefits
Water 2020, 12(5), 1264; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051264 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3525
Abstract
Freshwater is a precious resource, and shortages can lead to water stress, impacting agriculture, industry, and other sectors. Wastewater reuse is increasingly considered as an opportunity to meet the freshwater demand. Legislative frameworks are under development to support the responsible reuse of wastewater, [...] Read more.
Freshwater is a precious resource, and shortages can lead to water stress, impacting agriculture, industry, and other sectors. Wastewater reuse is increasingly considered as an opportunity to meet the freshwater demand. Legislative frameworks are under development to support the responsible reuse of wastewater, i.e., to balance benefits and risks. In an evaluation of the proposed European regulation for water reuse, we concluded that the proposed regulation is not practically feasible, as the water provider alone is responsible for the risk assessment and management, even beyond their span of control. The required knowledge and resources are extensive. Therefore, without clear guidance for implementation, the regulation would hinder implementation of reuse programs. As a consequence, the current practice of uncontrolled, unintentional, and indirect reuse continues, including related risks and inefficiency. Therefore, we provide an outline of the interdisciplinary approach required to design and achieve safe, responsible water reuse. Responsible water reuse requires knowledge of water demand and availability, quality and health, technology, and governance for the various types of application. Through this paper we want to provide a starting point for an interdisciplinary agenda to compile and generate knowledge (databases), approaches, guidelines, case examples, codes of practice, and legislation to help bring responsible water reuse into practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Security and Governance in Catchments)
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