Louise Sallé, edited by Romain Rouillard 06:11, August 21, 2022
To deal with the episodes of drought which are likely to increase in the years to come, the reduction of drinking water consumption, in particular for agriculture, seems particularly necessary.
To do this, the use of treated wastewater to water the fields is an ideal solution.
The historic drought that France has just experienced, and that some departments are still experiencing, proves how essential it is to rethink the use of water.
And this involves reducing the consumption of drinking water, nearly half of which is now used for agriculture.
However, it is possible to water the fields with treated wastewater.
But this solution is still underused in France.
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France is also a bad student in Europe.
Willy Fortunato runs UV Germi, a company that has developed wastewater purification technology.
"Our closest Italian, Portuguese and Spanish neighbors reuse more than 15% of their treated wastewater. We are at less than 1% in France. So there is a challenge to save both water resources and nutrients : nitrogen, phosphorus which are naturally present in wastewater".
These waters can be suitable for many agricultural uses, explains Catherine Neel.
She is the referent on this subject at Cerema, an environmental institution that works with the State
"For livestock watering, this is drinking water. To water fruits and vegetables just before harvest, it is of course advisable to do so with drinking water, but on the other hand for crops like fodder, to make wood energy, we don't have the same prevention and we don't necessarily need the same quality of water".
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However, obstacles persist.
"My INRAE colleagues have estimated the cost price of treated wastewater at three to five times higher than the current price of agricultural water. This is not necessarily paid by the farmer, it "This is where you have to see the mode of water management. This can very well be supported by a community, but there is a big brake on governance and organization of water management in general", adds Catherine Neel.
By 2025, however, France hopes to triple the recycling of its wastewater.