Reuse of water for urban and agricultural irrigation (Nutzwasser)

Research project for practical demonstration on the reuse of water as an alternative water resource.

The effects of climate change are already evident today resulting in extreme and prolonged dry periods. The use of alternative water resources is thus becoming increasingly important.

Periods of drought, falling groundwater levels and an increasing demand for water represent an increasing challenge. Due to advancing climate change, conflicts of use and rising energy prices, water resources must be managed more efficiently and sustainably in the future.

In Germany, there are regions that are increasingly affected by extreme and prolonged droughts. Due to scarce surface and groundwater resources in these regions, conflicts of use arise between agricultural irrigation, public drinking water supply, irrigation of municipal green spaces, cooling water requirements and the demands of industry and commerce. These conflicts are expected to intensify as climate change progresses. The provision of alternative water resources is thus also becoming increasingly important in Germany.

The Schweinfurter Trockenplatte (dry plate of Schweinfurt) is an example of a dry region in Germany. Precipitation is very low at around 500 mm per year. At the same time, the calcareous soil can store water only very poorly.

In order to improve the availability of water in this region, the research project Nutzwasser aims to develop options for the extraction, distribution and applications of reused water in this region.

The focus of the TZW in the reuse water project is on the retention of hygienically relevant microbiological parameters such as fecal indicators, bacteria and viruses. Also significant for the water quality is the elemination of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARG).

The relative risks of a utility water application for urban and agricultural irrigation are characterized by a Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA), taking into account the results from monitoring of the experimental system