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World Bank publishes report on Arab water reuse

The report is a summary of the findings of the Expert Consultation Meeting on Wastewater Management in the Arab World, convened in Dubai in May 2011.
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Total water reuse in the Arab world is estimated at 2,170 million m³ per year, according to a report just published by the World Bank summarising the findings of the Expert Consultation Meeting on Wastewater Management in the Arab World, convened in Dubai in May 2011.

The publication, Water Reuse in the Arab World: From Principle to Practice, says that Egypt, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are the largest users, accounting for 75% of the Arab region in term of total domestic water reuse.

Pervasive water scarcity, urbanization and the increasingly obvious impacts of climate change have led to a shift in local perceptions of the importance of properly capturing and using reclaimed water. Today, says the report, water reuse is regarded by most Arab nations to have great potential in significantly increasing available water resources.

Arab states currently produce an estimated 10,800 million m³ per year of wastewater, of which approximately 55% is treated and 15% reused in agriculture, landscape irrigation, industrial cooling and environmental protection. In some countries, water reuse in groundwater recharge is further used to protect freshwater.

The objective of the 2011 meeting, organised by the Arab Water Council, the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture and the Islamic Development Bank, was to quantify the status and lessons learned on water reuse in the Arab world.

The report summarizes principal messages and priorities on water reuse as communicated by Arab water experts in papers and presentations prepared for the consultation and provides an overview of the current status and future potential of water reuse, as described by local experts and institutions.

However, the publication stresses that it is "far from being an exhaustive treaty of the complex subject of water reuse".

In seeking to inform discussions across the Arab world, the report is structured round six common topics:

- Current status of water in the Arab world
- Basic economic considerations of water reuse
- Infrastructure investments to enable sustainable reuse
- Benefits of reuse in agriculture
- Sustainable cost-recovery models
- Elements of a successful national water reuse strategy