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Greywater Use in MENA:A water scarcity issue or a poverty alleviation strategy? ( see also abstracts 531 and 539 )

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Marwan Owaygen, Mark Redwood, El-Fattal Lamia
International Development Research Centre, Urban Poverty and Environment Program Initiative 8 Ahmed Nassim Street, 8th floor, Giza, P.O. Box 14, Orman, Giza, Egypt Tel.+202 33 36 7051/2/3 Fax. +202 33 36 705

Keyword(s): Greywater, Middle East and North Africa, cost effectiveness, waterd emand management
AbstractIn the 13th World Water Congress, IDRCís presentation on greywater use in MENA is thought to be a synthesis of lessons learned from IDRC supported initiatives on greywater in the region, including also recommendations for future research needs. Therefore, the presentation cannot strictly follow the suggested structure (i.e introduction, objective, methods, results and conclusion). Water is scarce in the MENA region, therefore the general need for new water saving technologies must be acknowledged. Economic cost-benefit analyses have been conducted for a number of IDRC-supported and greywater-related projects. Cost-benefit ratios of 1 to 5, and 1 to 4 have been reported for a number of projects, but these appear too optimistic. The most robust of all of the economic reports is a cost-benefit of 1 to 2.75 in a research project that was conducted in Jordan. This translated to about 6 Jordan Dinar per month on an average salary of 300 Jordan Dinar. What this suggests is that any strategy to further develop greywater treatment and use will need to develop messages that include not only economic but also environmental and social messages. This also signifies the continued need to see greywater use as a way to alleviate water stress and not only as a poverty alleviation strategy. The Aqaba Declaration on Greywater Use in the Middle East and North Africa (February 15th, 2007) that emerged from an IDRC-supported activity (Greywater Stock Meeting in Aqaba) should be promoted as the benchmark of future work on greywater in the region. In this Declaration, it was agreed that: 1) greywater provides an important potential to alleviate water scarcity in dry countries and it should be seen as a water source as opposed to a waste product, 2) greywater use must be promoted in a way that minimizes health and environmental risks while generating economic benefits, 3) greywater use is considered to have potential as a water demand management option for the MENA region and there is a need to respond to existing demand for non-conventional sources of water by promoting the widespread adoption of greywater use, 4) in order to raise the profile of greywater and promote its widespread use there is a need to work closely with all relevant stakeholders and to focus on clear and straightforward messages, and 5) any technological intervention should be cost effective while meeting accepted standards.
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