Solène Leroux, edited by Ophélie Artaud 9:22 a.m., August 13, 2022

While drought continues to rage in France and more than a hundred municipalities lack drinking water, the Vendée may have found a solution: recycle wastewater.

A first in Europe.

This treated water could then be consumed by 35,000 inhabitants around Les Sables-d'Olonne.

Faced with the historic drought affecting France, solutions must be found.

To avoid possible shortages of drinking water, the Vendée has launched a wastewater recycling project.

And this is a first in Europe.

Once processed, they can be consumed by 35,000 inhabitants around Les Sables-d'Olonne.

The water is first collected at the outlet of the Sables-d'Olonne wastewater treatment plant.

It is then reprocessed in a refining unit.

Less than 1% of water reused

“There are five treatment stages that eliminate the remaining pollution in the water,” explains Mathilde Coulais, program manager at Vendée Eau, which is carrying out the project.

Then the reclaimed water is transferred through a 27 kilometer pipeline to a lake that serves as a reserve.

"Refined sewage and lake water are mixed and the water is then pumped up to the dam to make drinking water."

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In France, less than 1% of water is currently reused, only agriculture and green spaces can benefit from it.

That's pretty much the only use allowed today.

The Jourdain program is therefore a solution, an adaptation to climate change.

"We are going to have to suffer more and more episodes of drought and this will allow us to run out of water less, or at least, and to limit losses", underlines Mathilde Coulais.

A crucial issue when last July was the second driest month ever recorded in France.

The first stone of the refining plant was laid at the beginning of July.

This project should be fully operational by mid-2024.