Recovery and Reuse

Treated wastewater reuse: what are the benefits for local authorities?



Treated wastewater reuse is one of a number of solutions that need to be rolled out very quickly to meet the challenges of efficient water use. Conscious of their responsibilities, more and more local authorities are turning to REUSE.

Saur offers them 2 service packages: Urban Reuse and Rural Reuse.


Urban REUSE and Rural REUSE: how do they differ?

Urban REUSE targets urban uses that currently consume precious drinking water, such as street and drain cleaning.

Urban REUSE replaces drinking water with treated water from wastewater treatment plants.

It’s described as Urban, because these projects are implemented in urban communities close to the wastewater treatment plant chosen to supply the treated wastewater.

Compared with Rural REUSE, Urban REUSE systems are simple, involving easily installed standard skid-mounted and mobile units.

Small volumes + defined areas of use = quick and easy installation

REUSE is becoming a more high-profile political issue

The risk of water shortages is particularly high in local authority areas regularly affected by drought. Elected councilors must then use all the resources available to them to move towards a structured policy of sustainable water management. 

Communities hit by repeated water cuts will inevitably feel let down by a local authority that appears to be taking no action to deal with the problem.

REUSE is one of the fastest solutions available in terms of implementation. So why wait? 


REUSE in France and internationally

In 2023, more than 60 local authorities across France asked Saur about rolling out a REUSE program, and 90% of those requests were for Urban REUSE solutions.

This reflects their need to take action urgently, because can take as little as 8 to 10 months to set up an Urban REUSE scheme, rather than the 18 to 24 months required for Rural REUSE.

Although there were more from the south of France, Saur has received these requests from every part of the country, even those areas where there has been historically a very low risk of drought.

In fact, the requests received by Saur in 2023 covered no less than 80% of mainland France!

Just some of SAUR’s REUSE customers in France

Ile de Ré

  • Agricultural irrigation (AOC-accredited early potatoes (22 hectares), fodder radish, peas and wheat (22 hectares)
  • Market gardens and orchards (5 hectares)
  • Public landscaped spaces
  • Stadiums and 2 equestrian centers
  • More than 250 m3 of recycled water daily


  • A REUSE user since 1982
  • Agricultural irrigation of Noirmoutier ‘Bonottes’ AOC-accredited potatoes
  • Between 270,000 and 580,000 m3 irrigated
  • Challenges: To offset the island's lack of natural water resources and cope with the pressures of the summer tourist season

St Gildas de Rhuys

  • A REUSE user since 2006
  • Watering of golf courses using REUSE from Saur-operated WWTPs
  • 120,000 m3 in 2010


  • A REUSE user since 2020
  • Crop irrigation using REUSE from a Saur-operated WWTP
  • 101 hectares of crops irrigated
  • A 30% reduction in WWTP annual flow since 2018

REUSE internationally

Just some of Saur's international REUSE customers

Cyprus - Steriac in Nicosia 

  • Max. capacity of 20,000 m3 per day

Saudi Arabia - Masa Jubail and Yanbu:

  • 45 million m3 per year reused for irrigation and landscape watering between 2011 and 2022

Spain - a number of low-capacity wastewater treatment plants with REUSE: 

  • San Miguel - Lo Rufete
  • Las Palmas (landscape watering)
  • Lugo (filtration and UV disinfection for utility water only)
  • Carballo - Novi (UV disinfection)
  • Carballo - Razo (UV disinfection)
  • Carballo - Rebordelos (UV disinfection)
  • Carballo - Artes (UV disinfection)
  • Foz
  • Fazouro


How does the Saur REUSE solution get installed?

Our REUSE service packages are built around 3 key points. 

1. Saur manages all administrative formalities

Specialist administrative skills are required to prepare the necessary documentation:

  • Submission of applications for permits (DDA or experimental documentation) to departmental health authorities in France (DDT, DDTM, ARS, CODERST)
  • Submission of grant applications to the appropriate bodies 

As an expert provider of water management services, Saur takes over management of the project for the local authority.


2. Selecting the right service providers

Every REUSE project is unique, and requires preliminary feasibility studies to be conducted in order to identify what is feasible and to provide input for the documentation submitted to the authorities.

Saur selects those service providers best qualified to conduct these studies as part of ensuring that the documentation submitted is as comprehensive and effective as possible.

This selection process considerably reduces the risk of rejection by authorities that are not always in favor of REUSE.


3. Straightforward and customized technical solutions

The solutions proposed by Saur are:

  • Plug and Play for rapid implementation
  • Tailored to the economic realities of each local authority
  • Designed to maintain the biodiversity of watercourses into which treated wastewater is discharged
  • Sized to meet real-world needs


Urban REUSE water production plant sizing

Let’s take the example of 2 different authorities. 

The first has an estimated requirement of 15m3 per hour, and the other 30m3 per hour.

You might be forgiven for thinking that the second simply requires the installation of ‘bigger’ skid-mounted unit to meet demand.

Although this solution works, it's not beneficial financially!

In the second case, Saur would recommend installing a storage tank in addition to the single skid-mounted unit to deliver the larger volume.

Why? Because storing water costs less than installing a larger plant.

The fact is that Urban REUSE plants don’t need to operate continuously, because the majority of the water they produce is used to fill drain cleaning trucks and/or street cleaning tankers.

So having a minimum storage level of between 6 and 7m3 means that trucks can be filled immediately to optimize delivery rounds!

Want to know more about Saur REUSE service packages?

Our experts are ready and waiting to answer all your questions!

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