Safe water re-use and environmentally sounddesalination in the Mediterranean: theactivities of the UNEP/MAP MED POLProgramme as a contribution to adaptation toclimate change"byFrancesco Saverio Civili,CoordinatorMED POL ProgrammeUNEP/MAP Regional Conference on Advancing Non-Conventional Water Resources Management in the Mediterranean Athens, 14-15 September 2011
MEDITERRANEAN97.5% of the total global stock of water is salineOnly 2.5% is fresh waterApproximately 70% of this global freshwater is locked-up in polarice caps and a major part of the remaining 30% lies in remoteunderground aquifersOnly a miniscule fraction of freshwater (less than 1% of the totalfreshwater, 0.007% of the total global water stock) is available inrivers, lakes and reservoirs and is readily accessible for directhuman useFurthermore, the spatial and temporal distribution of freshwaterstock and flows is hugely uneven
MEDITERRANEANAccording to UN estimations the total population of the region willincrease from 446 million inh. in 2000 to 508-579 in 2025.Within one generation the total population in the Eastern andSouthern countries tripled and it was over 223 million.The water demands have shown a 32% increase by the year 2010 andwill reach 55% by 2025.The increase in the North is less than that in the South and East.The required water production is estimated to increase by 96 billioncubic meters per year.
MEDITERRANEAN 1990 2025 2050 7500 10780 10842 7000 11549 6500 6000 5500Availability (m /inh.yr) 5000 45003 4000 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 Chronic Water Scarcity 1000 500 0 Absolute Water Stress Eg s Eg s Fr Jo M A A A C G G Is IIta Le Le Li on M Pa co Po iine Po Sp al Sy Sy Tu Tu a Tu a Yu sr * * all lb llg yp re re ra al or or by by an an ba r ba ba lle ra ri a ni r rk y yp r rt aii go y da da an er t ta ec ell oc ru ug ug a a st n si c ce riia ey u n t sll n n y ia e a a av e a ia a a Ex-Yugoslavia is not differentiated among Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia and Serbia. Ex-Yugoslavia is notBosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia * It includes differentiated among Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia Annual renewable fresh water availability for 1990, 2025, and 2050
MEDITERRANEAN As a result, present and future water needs can be covered and satisfied only if non-conventionalresources (water re-use and desalination) are utilized
Water management in the region: the major challenges A significant population increase, both on permanent populations and in seasonal visitors The consideration of the environment as an essential component of the water resources management framework The need to achieve further advancements in water sanitation, particularly in coastal areas The difficulties of all sorts, political, social, technical and even economical, to generate significant flows of new water resources using traditional management strategies The recurring drought episodes that have affected some Mediterranean areas over the last decades
Since its inception MAP has supported countries tocope with water management challenges: specific provisions of the Barcelona Conventionand its Protocols (in particular the LBS, ICZM), important actions undertaken in the framework ofMCSD and its strategy (MSSD) that has adopted a setof recommendations on water
The MSSD, adopted in 2005, focuses on water -a key sector for theMediterranean and critical for its sustainable development process-with concrete targets on water savings. In this respect, one of theissues highlighted is related to the use of non conventional waters.In the framework of MSSD, MAP/MCSD is also working on thepreparation of a regional framework of adaptation to climate changewith particular emphasis on marine and coastal areas as well asgreen economy that also addresses water management issues.
In the framework of MED POL two major issueswere addressed:environmentally sound management of desalinationsafe water re-use
As the demand for water increases, wastewater treatment and use hasprogressively become an important tool in integrated water resourcesmanagement, and it is integrated into the holistic water resourcesmanagement of many countriesThe use of treated wastewater can provide many benefits, including thestimulation of economic growth through provision of a guaranteed supply ofdefined qualityTreated wastewater can also make a significant contribution to sustainabilityby reducing pressure on our existing water supplies and transferringnutrients to beneficial uses, rather than discharge to our waterways
Water supply reliability, to be contractually defined and established to ensurethat water will be available when the user needs itMore economical water supply than conventional sources, particularlyduring scarcity or drought periodsDevelopment and follow-up of planned water reuse projects will contribute toconvert reclaimed water into a conventional water source. Reclaimed water isa new water source, and consequently has to be accepted by users before itbecomes a common water sourcePromotion of planned water reuse requires a level of institutionalcooperation and support (environmental, and public health particularly)higher than that commonly adopted when managing traditional watersupplies
Reclaimed water is currently used for numerous beneficial uses:1) agricultural, forest and landscape irrigation,2) urban uses (garden, fire hydrants, street cleansing, and car washing),3) industrial uses (cooling, process water, railroad wagons washing),4) ornamental and recreation uses,5) environmental protection and enhancement (constructed wetlands), and6) groundwater recharge.
Wastewater is unique in composition, often associated with environmentaland health hazards, and its acceptability to replace more conventional orother non-conventional water sources for irrigation is highly dependent uponwhether the health risk and environmental impact are within acceptablelevelsThe formulation of guidelines for the use of treated wastewater is of primeimportance to countries in the Mediterranean region.UNEP/MAP MED POL has developed in cooperation with WHO a number ofguidelines intended to be key references and guide for the use of treatedwastewater in Mediterranean countries. They are also designed to supportthe regulatory requirements prescribed by the national regulatory authorities.
In addition, much emphasis has been given by the MED POLProgramme to capacity building. To this end, since 2004 ten trainingcourses were organized in the region both at the national and theregional levels on treatment plants operation, maintenance and re-use of waste waters.
In the Mediterranean, desalination has for a long time been a majorsource of water, with the first plant installed in Marsa Alam, Egyptwith a capacity of 500 m³/day.In 1983, Malta became one of the first places to use reverse osmosis(RO) processes for seawater desalination on a large scale.Today, Spain is the country with the largest capacity of seawaterdesalination plants in the Mediterranean region.
taken into considerationConstruction and operation activities could result in a variety ofcoastal zone impacts including impacts to air quality, to waterquality, to marine life, disturbance of ecological importantecosystems (sand-dunes, seagrass beds and other importanthabitats by the siting of pipelines route), dredging and disposal ofdredged material, noise, interference with public access andrecreation.The most significant of these impacts are to air quality and waterquality, which subsequently, the latter has adverse impacts onmarine life and ecosystems.
MAP, through its MED POL Programme, has worked to assistcountries to implement their desalination policy in full respect ofthe existing Barcelona Convention legislative framework.In fact, dredged material from the construction of and installationsof lengthy submarine intake and outake pipes must be dumpedaccording to the specific provisions of the Dumping Protocol.The concentrate from a desalination plant (the brine) should beregulated prior to its discharge to the marine environmentaccording to the relevant provisions of the LBS Protocol.
Metal discharge, i.e. copper, from desalination plants should beeliminated according to the relevant provisions of the LBS Protocol.In addition, guidelines were prepared and adopted by theContracting Parties in relation to the environmental soundmanagement of desalination plants.Technical and legal assistance related to the planning, design, sitingand operation of plants is also being provided to countries in need.
UNEP/MAP MED POLSafe water re-use and environmentally sound desalination in theMediterranean: the activities of the UNEP/MAP MED POL Programmeas a contribution to adaptation to climate change"United Nations Environment Programme /Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP)48, Vassileos Konstantinou Ave.Athens 11635Greecewww.unepmap.org