Europe 1 with AFP // photo credit: KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND / DPA / dpa Picture-Alliance via AFP 13:01 p.m., August 30, 2023

A decree published on Wednesday has just simplified the procedure for recycling wastewater for non-domestic needs. This measure aims to increase the available water resource and "simplify the uses and conditions of reuse of wastewater and treated water", according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

The authorization procedure for the reuse of treated wastewater is now simpler, according to a decree published Wednesday in the Official Journal that also specifies the conditions for the use of rainwater for non-domestic uses. These measures are intended to increase the availability of water, which becomes scarcer in a warming climate where droughts are likely to be more numerous. "One of the challenges is to simplify the uses and conditions of reuse of treated wastewater (...), while maintaining total protection of populations from a health point of view," comments the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

The decree specifies the procedure to be followed to obtain the prefectural authorization to reuse wastewater. This "indicates the sanitary quality of treated waste water to be respected for authorized uses and sets out the obligations incumbent on stakeholders, including the technical requirements to be complied with for the protection of human health and the environment". The idea is to use the water coming out of the treatment plants for certain non-domestic uses, which today consume drinking water, such as cleaning roads or watering certain green spaces.

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Prohibited for food and drink

The use of rainwater is "possible without a permit procedure". The use of treated wastewater and rainwater "is not possible" in residential premises, social and health institutions, nurseries, kindergartens and elementary schools and other establishments open to the public during public opening hours, according to the decree.

It is also prohibited for food, including drinking, preparing, cooking and preserving food, washing dishes, body and linen hygiene and recreational use including, in particular, swimming pools and whirlpools, misting, water games and watering the green spaces of buildings. President Emmanuel Macron set in March a target of 10% wastewater reuse by 2030, while the France is far behind on this subject. "Developing the reuse of wastewater will be an interesting source of reducing the pressure we put on water resources," the ministry said.