The Mediterranean countries are characterized by a severe
water imbalance, mainly in the summer months, especially those
located in the North Africa and Middle East region. This imbalance
in water demand versus supply is due mainly to the relatively
and uneven distribution of precipitation, high temperatures,
increased demands for irrigation water and the impacts of
tourism. To alleviate water shortages serious consideration
must be given to wastewater reclamation and reuse. The sustainable
wastewater treatment and reuse is a continuous challenge.
In the Mediterranean countries, wastewater, at different
level of treatment (raw, secondary or tertiary) is used alone
or mixed with fresh water, mostly on forage and cereals but
also sometimes on fruit trees and even vegetables, depending
on national legislation and its enforcement. Concern for human
health and the environment are the most important constraints
in the reuse of wastewater. In several cases the wastewater
is not properly treated due to the fact that the construction
cost of efficient treatment systems is very high, especially
for small and medium size communities.
Of course many alternative solutions have been developed with
the scientific and technological progress during the last
years. However, the selection of the appropriate treatment
technique that is tailored to the needs of each community
means in several cases the involvement of qualified specialists.
Moreover, in several cases the outflow of the wastewater treatment
systems does not have a standard quality either because standard
operating procedures are not followed, or because there is
no qualified personnel able to overcome usual problems and
to control/monitor the whole treatment procedure. A serious
problem that can create significant obstacles in the safe
reuse of the treated wastewater in agriculture is the lack
of information of all the involved actors.
The transfer of knowledge, experience and know-how in the
Mediterranean countries will be mostly valuable if also considering
that Greece and Spain are Mediterranean countries and therefore
common interests are shared between all partners.
The project lasted 51 months and consisted of 8 tasks.