The sustainable industrial water cycle - a review of the economics and approach

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Studies suggest that only 31% of Europe is thought to have a water supply that is either plentiful or sufficient to meet demands until 2015, and water stress indexes show a number of countries with traditionally wet climates such as Belgium and Bulgaria, under significant water stress. Therefore, there is both a desire and a need to reduce the consumption of water over much of Europe. For industry, often economics determine the viability of water recycling, which does not necessarily fall under the standards currently being set for the major water reuse schemes. While the additional annual recycling capacity in Western Europe is set to increase by 10%, much of the Global market is focussed on major reuse facilities based on the municipal sector. Within the industrial sector there are opportunities to achieve major changes in the water cycle which can have a significant impact on total water consumption. The impact on regional water consumption by industries efforts can be massive, as industry accounts for 50% of the water consumption in Western Europe. When benchmarked data across industry sectors is analysed, we find that industries ranging from paper mills, dairy, beverage, ceramic and electronics have opportunities to reduce their water consumption by around 50%. But what are the mechanisms that drive actions in the industry water cycle, and how great can the impact be? This paper explores industrial water costs across Europe, and the drivers leading to reduced water consumption. As operators of water and wastewater facilities for many industrial customers across Europe, Ondeo Industrial Solutions examine the raw water costs and the viability of recycle schemes. Economics is not the only driver towards the reduction in water consumption on industrial sites. There are political and legislative drivers that can often override the economics such as the European PPC (Pollution Prevention and Control) directive that can often lead to a programme of water consumption reductions.

Keywords: industrial water cycle, reducing water costs, sustainable water, water applications, water legislative and incentives, water reuse

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