Waste water from sewage treatment plants may be recycled by Irish Water for drinking supply
The so-called 'effluent reuse' idea is proposed in a report which looks at how to provide safe and clean drinking water over the next 25 years
Irish Water is proposing to recycle waste water from sewage treatment plants into drinking water to prevent future shortages.
The so-called 'effluent reuse' idea is proposed in a report which looks at how to provide safe and clean drinking water over the next 25 years.
The National Water Resources Plan will look at meeting future supply needs in Ireland, considering that some urban centres are already suffering shortages, as well as the issues expected to be caused by climate change.
Recycled waste water is used in many countries around the world but it is generally for irrigation, and only deployed for drinking water during severe drought conditions.
Other proposals in the report to ensure safe and clean water for everyone include the treatment of sea water - known as desalination - the building of new reservoirs and demand management including campaigns to encourage water conservation by consumers.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, acting water resource strategy specialist with Irish Water Mary McMahon said while no decisions had been made regarding securing future supply, all options would be considered.
Regarding 'effluent reuse' she said: "It's used in some jurisdictions. It looks at resusing discharge from water treatment plants and putting it back through the process again.
"Whether it is possible here will be addressed," she added. "Whether that would be considered an option would be part of what the plan looks at. It will be looked at on its merits and demerits."
Irish Water supplies 80pc of the population with drinking water, supplying 1.7 billion litres of water every day.