• National standards for water reuse in European Countries

    In European countries, the reuse of treated wastewater must be undertaken in full compliance with the requirements of relevant EU legislation. In this regard, the reuse of treated wastewater has been highlighted within EU water policy as one possible alternative water source in water-scarce regions, which may be appropriate to consider within water-scarcity planning (COM, 2007, 414 in CIS, 2016). It was also identified as a priority in the 2012 Water Blueprint (COM, 2012, 673 in CIS, 2016) and it is also a supplementary measure Member States can adopt as part of the Programme of Measures required under Article 11(4) of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC). It is a top priority area in the Strategic Implementation Plan of the European Innovation Partnership on Water in http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/reuse.htm). 

    The European Commission has been working for years on a harmonized proposal of minimum requirements for water reuse in member countries. Proposal for a Regulation of 18 December, 2019, followed by the Regulation of the European Parlament and of the Council of the 25 May 2020 on Minimum Requirement for Water Reuse are part of the Action Plan to promote the Circular Economy, considering that water reuse has a lower environmental impact than water transfers and desalination and that, without a doubt, will improve water availability and promote its efficient use. Currently, only 6 countries have regulations in this regard (Cyprus, Italy, France, Portugal, Greece and Spain). 

    This Regulation lays down minimum requirements for water quality and monitoring, as well as provisions for risk management, for the safe use of reclaimed water in the context of integrated water resources management.

  • Italy

    In Italy, the national emission standards for wastewater discharge are included in the D. Lgs. no. 152/2006. Regarding the water reuse, the Italian regulation derives from the California guidelines and is included as regulations in the national legislation (Ministerial Decree 185/2003). This standard refers to the reuse of urban and industrial wastewater effluents. In the frame of water reuse for agricultural irrigation, reclaimed water could be used for all crops destined for human/livestock consumption and for non-food crops. The use of reclaimed water on crops that might be consumed raw is only allowed in the presence of irrigation systems designed to avoid direct contact of the water with the fruits and edible parts of the crops.

    Regarding Managed Aquifer Recharge using drainage water, in italy they are considered as surface water and are regulated by Ministerial Decree n. 100/2016 (Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea) establishing the criteria for the issue of authorizations for the managed recharge of aquifers for which the use of surface water and groundwater may be allowed (art. 3). In case of use of surface water as recharge water, it must comply with the quality standards as indicated in table 1/A and table 1/B of ANNEX 1 to Part III of the D. Lgs. n. 152/2006 (Environmental standards) (art. 3, comma 2).

  • Spain

    In Spain,the requirements for discharges from urban WWTPs, including also the discharges to sensitive areas which are subject to eutrophication are both included in the Directive 91/271 and Commission Directive 98/15/EC of 27 February 1998 amending Council Directive 91/271/EEC with respect to certain requirements established in Annex I thereof. Regarding the quality standards of reclaimed waters, they are based on their end use according to the Royal Decree 1620/2007 (English translation), establishing the legal regime of water reuse in Spain.