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A framework for efficient wastewater treatment and recycling systems
This paper deals with the question of "how wastewater recycling can be made efficient in a developing country setting and a developed country setting?" Literature has shown that the use of un-treated/partially treated wastewater for irrigation is the main problem of wastewater use practices in developing countries. In the current paper, it is proposed that an institutional analysis can be conducted to determine the constraints for the current cost recovery of sewerage charges followed by a contingent valuation survey to determine the willingness of people to pay for increased sewerage charges. The key outcome of the two methods would be an appropriate cost (of wastewater treatment) sharing mechanism among various stakeholders, so that it is possible to treat wastewater to appropriate levels for recycling and hence make the practice socially and environmentally viable in the long run. On the other hand, in developed countries, there is a need to increase the efficiency of wastewater recycling so that it competes efficiently with alternate sources of water. There are a number of different methods through which efficiency can be improved. However, for the current study, it is proposed to be improved through allocative efficiency. Wastewater recycling can fulfill different objectives and can be allocated to different sectors, namely, agriculture, industry, residential areas and urban recreational irrigation. A ranking exercise can be conducted for the different objectives among the stakeholders and each objective could be weighted accordingly. Once the objectives are weighted, the cost-effectiveness analysis can be used to evaluate the best sectors to which treated wastewater should be allocated to achieve the most desired objective. The approach outlined may be used further as the basis of a tool kit/decision support tool that can be employed in other circumstances and regions to allocate wastewater among different sectors.