EGU23-11240, updated on 06 Jul 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The more wastewater reclamation, the less water stress?

Dan Wang1, Reetik Kumar Sahu2, Taher Kahil2, Ting Tang2, Yuli Shan3, and Klaus Hubacek1
Dan Wang et al.
  • 1Integrated Research on Energy Environment and Society (IREES), Energy Sustainability Research Institute Groningen (ESRIG), University of Groningen, Groningen 9747 AG, The Netherlands (Dan Wang:; Klaus Hubacek:
  • 2Water Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria (Reetik Kumar Sahu:; Taher Kahil:; Ting Tang:
  • 3School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK (Yuli Shan:

Wastewater treatment removes water pollutants and wastewater reclamation provides an alternative water supply. It is believed that increasing the rate of wastewater reuse and reclamation can reduce water stress. This study aims at understanding whether reusing more wastewater can help mitigate water stress in China. Through scenario analysis, it is found that the potential for reuse of reclaimed water under a water conservation scenario is only 12-56% of the actual situation, but regional water stress under a water saving scenario is 10-82% lower than the current reality. The results show that a higher amount of reclamation does not necessarily lead to a lower water stress in one region. The potential for wastewater treatment and reuse is determined by return flows, which can reduce water use efficiency and exacerbate water stress. To effectively alleviate water stress, it is important to not only increase wastewater reuse, but also prioritize water conservation.

How to cite: Wang, D., Sahu, R. K., Kahil, T., Tang, T., Shan, Y., and Hubacek, K.: The more wastewater reclamation, the less water stress?, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11240,, 2023.