Integrated technological and management solutions for wastewater treatment and efficient agricultural reuse in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia
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Mediterranean-African countries (MACs) face a major water crisis. The annual renewable water resources are close to the 500 m3 /capita threshold of absolute water scarcity, and water withdrawals exceed total renewable water resources by 30%. Such a low water availability curbs economic development in agriculture, which accounts for 86% of freshwater consumption. The analysis of the current situation of wastewater treatment, irrigation, and water management in MACs and of the research projects targeted to these countries indicates the need for 1) an enhanced capacity to analyze water stress, 2) the development of water management strategies capable of including wastewater reuse, and 3) development of locally adapted water treatment and irrigation technologies. This analysis shaped the MADFORWATER project (www.madforwater.eu), whose goal is to develop a set of integrated technological and management solutions to enhance wastewater treatment, wastewater reuse for irrigation, and water efficiency in agriculture in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. MADFORWATER develops and adapts technologies for the production of irrigation-quality water from drainage canals and municipal, agro-industrial, and industrial wastewaters and technologies for water efficiency and reuse in agriculture, initially validated at laboratory scale, to 3 hydrological basins in the selected MACs. Selected technologies will be further adapted and validated in 4 demonstration plants of integrated wastewater treatment and reuse. Integrated strategies for wastewater treatment and reuse targeted to the selected basins are developed, and guidelines for the development of integrated water management strategies in other basins of the 3 target MACs will be produced. The social and technical suitability of the developed technologies and nontechnological tools in relation to the local context is evaluated with the participation of MAC stakeholders and partners. Guidelines on economic instruments and policies for the effective implementation of the proposed water management solutions in the target MACs will be developed. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2018;14:447-462. © 2018 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC).