On Thursday and Friday at Lavrio in Attica, 27 partners, including some leading European universities, will be presenting the HYDROUSA project, which is getting off the drawing board and into the field this month. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program, its aim is to use water from nonconventional sources, including wastewater, to diminish or ideally eliminate the need to bring in fresh water from elsewhere and to reduce the cost of freshwater.
HYDROUSA intends to set up, demonstrate and optimize innovative on-site nature-based solutions to recover fresh water, nutrients and energy from wastewater, rainwater, groundwater, atmospheric water vapor and seawater to produce marketable products. This is seen helping to increase agricultural production and boost the economic activities of water-scarce Mediterranean areas.
A number of islands and coastal areas in the Mediterranean face significant water shortage problems resulting in environmental problems and a reduction in agricultural activity. Furthermore, the prices people and businesses pay for water are often very high due to desalination and/or transportation costs.
Starting this month on the Greek islands of Lesvos, Myconos and Tinos, the 54-month water loops project expects to change all this by valorizing nonconventional water resources to be used for multiple purposes that will boost the water, energy and agricultural profile of these regions. Energy will be recovered from wastewater to be used by the local municipalities.
The nutrients contained in sewage will be recycled (after the wastewater is treated) to boost agricultural production; high added value crops (superfoods), herbs and essential oils will be produced using such water. The project will help Greece and other Mediterranean and EU countries boost their fresh water reserves, enhance agricultural activities and solve chronic water resource problems faced by decentralized communities where fresh water is in short supply. Furthermore, this approach will provide more jobs in the water and agricultural sectors.
The 12-million-euro project’s stakeholders include the National Technical University of Athens, Brunel University of London, local authorities and technical companies.