Safe greywater reuse to augment water supply and provide sanitation in semi-arid areas of rural India

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Water reuse is recognized as a tool to increase water supply in peri-urban areas of semi-arid and arid regions of the world. However, it is an option rarely explored for rural areas in developing countries, and has not been documented extensively in the scientific literature. This paper presents results from 6 greywater reuse systems which were built with the objective to augment water supply and to provide sanitation in rural low income areas of Madhya Pradesh, India. The systems are based on reclaiming greywater from bathing for the use in toilet flushing and kitchen garden irrigation. The reuse systems were implemented based on the scientific rationale presented in the WHO (2006) guidelines. The paper presents evidence from the operation and evaluation of the greywater treatment plants under field conditions between 2005 and 2008. The paper concludes that greywater is a highly cost effective solution for water scarcity. In this study, reusing greywater resulted in a 60% increase in water availability, a reduction in open defecation and a fourfold increase in food availability.

Keywords: basic sanitation, food security, greywater reuse, India, rural school water supply, wise water management

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