14th IWA International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse

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Overcoming barriers for  reuse of water.

We never envisaged that the time would come so soon when we had to seriously consider water reuse as an important component of our future water security.  Indirect water reuse has been  the global strategy for many decades and has served us well in managing the security of our water supplies.  However, the emerging consequences of climate related impacts and the frequency of these, together with the high rate of urbanisation in many of the large cities in the world is forcing the boundaries of recognising water reuse as not an option but part of the broader water security mix, for achieving current and future water security in many places in the world.

For us, Cape Town and several other town and cities has given us a wake up call, that just depending on surface water resources and water from further and further away is not the solution.  This jolt of realisation, as well as the great examples of many cities in the world who have transitioned this pathway of reuse, offer us hope a that charging the path of water reuse and reclamation is now going to be part of our future history.

Globally, we are fortunate that with foresight the science, innovation and developments in the domain of water reuse did not slow, but continued to preserver and progress with the intention in mind that this will become the norm in the world.  Windhoek is our shining example and benchmark of what is possible and real.  Had the world transitioned with Windhoek, the experiences and dialogue would be different – since we all still struggle to change behaviour to accept reuse water as part of the formal water supply and building consumer confidence is part of continuously improving the technology offerings and advancement.

We feel privileged as South Africa and the African region to host the IWA Water Reuse and Reclamation Conference.  The timing cannot be more than perfect as we recover and respond to the Cape Town effect, and during a period where bold decisions are being made to Fastrack the direct use of treated effluents both for industry, agriculture and domestic purposes. The City of Cape Town has taken the big leap forward towards planning for on of the largest reuse facilities in the world, while we take learning from the Global Community and Practice, share our own successes such as Emalahleni, Beaufort West, Mossel Bay and several others who have been leading the application.

We welcome you to the warm African sunshine and the wonderful City of Cape Town, to an event which will be memorable.  It is now the time to remove the barriers and harness the opportunities.  Our future depends on reuse of water.

Jay Bhagwan
Conference Chair

Dr Josef Lahnsteiner
Chair IWA Water Reuse Specialist Group

Dr Jennifer Molwantwa
CEO, Water Research Commission