Development of a novel assessment framework and methodology for sustainable water reuse scheme and technology

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- The world’s usable and available water resources are diminishing. Whilst lack of water is the primary cause of drought, there are other factors which exacerbate the effects of global water shortage; some of them are natural and others result from human activity. Many related consequences could be greatly reduced if water resources management and socio-political strategies are improved. Water scarcity, particularly in urban areas, has been described by the growing gap between limited water supply and growing demand for water. The key context surrounding this research understands the power of sustainability, particularly through practicing sustainability in water cycles. Water reclamation and reuse concepts have emerged as one of the key resources whose availability affects the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. In this research, it was hypothesized that sustainability can be successfully applied at operational and decision-making levels to demonstrate value of a water reclamation scheme, coupled with a balanced understanding and management of functional elements. The key challenge resolved in this study was moving away from individual water system component evaluation to heterogeneous spatial and temporal scales that represent an integrated system approach. The novel integrated assessment methodology accounts for the entire urban water system including influences of various treatment technologies on economy, community, resources utilisation, water quality, environmental impact such as climatic changes, waste disposal and emissions. This research recognised, that integration of urban water systems increases complexity of evaluation methods requiring large volumes of data and creating new attributes that might be seen as unique to each urban area and difficult to overcome. To conquer this challenge, a holistic view of the urban water resources (potable, recycled, stormwater and sewage) has been adopted. This approach required rigorous assessment of system dynamics that were done through the collection and analysis of extensive data sets, development of a specific performance criteria and indicators, implementation of standardisation to evaluation protocols, which subsequently supported model development, calibration and verification. The literature supports the inclusion of a set of normative criteria upon which performance assessment can be measured. A practical representation of the research outcome is accomplished in the development of a Simultaneous Assessment Model (SAM). SAM is a mathematical model that allows for complete assessment of any urban water situation beyond traditional planning, towards integrated urban water management and sustainable water reuse scheme and technology. It represents a significant change in the approach to modelling by moving away from theoretical approaches and assumptions to the systems processes and responses using effective linking of simple sub-models to create a larger comprehensive model that covers treatment process and technology, the total urban water cycle, economic, environmental and social aspects. The assessment framework and methodology developed in this study provide the setting for “state-of-the-art” modelling because it complies with the following criteria: • covered all aspects of the urban water cycle including water supply, stormwater, wastewater; • took an integrated approach to the representation of the urban water system; • simulated both quality and quantity; • represented non-traditional approaches to urban water service provision such as stormwater harvesting, and wastewater reuse as well as water efficiency; and • able to represent separate storm water/waste water systems This research considers the full spectrum of economic analysis, encompassing relevant environmental and social costs and benefit resulting from the implementation of a water reclamation scheme. It was developed to improve understanding of the sustainability assessment, with fully supporting models that exercise all the quantitative and qualitative information. The framework and methodology as developed and presented is a practical, realistic and systematic tool to benefit the community.
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