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The irrigation of agricultural land and vineyards with treated wastewater will be regulated by an EU regulation from June 2023. The European Commission has now published guidelines to help each member country implement the regulation. A statement from the Commission says that "reuse of treated water is crucial to provide a safe additional source of water as Europe increasingly suffers from droughts, while reducing pressure on water bodies and helping the EU adapt to climate change".

Currently, some countries have their own regulations for the reuse of treated wastewater. Others have no regulations or only guidelines. The EU regulation will "set minimum requirements for water quality, risk management and monitoring to ensure that reuse of water is safe", the press release says. From 26 June 2023, all member states would have to have a scheme in place that complies with the guidelines established by the Commission.

A trial system in Languedoc-Roussillon has proved reliable, says Flor Etchebarne, an expert on the reuse of water for agricultural irrigation and head of the water business at Eurodia Group. It even adds value because the water is more nutritious. Profitability depends on the respective costs of implementation, he said. "Each project requires a case-by-case assessment, which depends on access to water resources. The economic viability depends on whether the treated wastewater is used as the main resource or only as a supplement. In any case, it is subject to government approval," Etchebarne adds.

(al / Source: vitisphere; Photo: 123rf)

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Vineyards in Languedoc-Roussillon are irrigated with waste water