Use of Treated Wastewater: Evaluation of Wastewater Minimization Strategies using Fuzzy Techniques

S. Chowdhury, P. Champagne, and A. Sarkar (Canada)


Wastewater reuse, uncertainty, priority matrix and analytic hierarchy process


The rapid growth of the population, insufficient recharges of fresh water to underground aquifers and increased agricultural and landscaping activities in Middle Eastern countries have increased pressure on natural water systems including non-renewable water sources. Approximately, 22,480 million cubic meters (MCM) of water was required in Saudi Arabia in 2005, for which non-renewable groundwater was a major supply source satisfying 57% of the demand, while surface and renewable groundwater shared 38% of the demand, desalination water 4% and treated reclaimed wastewater 1%. A large portion of domestic wastewater, which is approximately 45% of the total demand, is currently discharged into the natural water bodies with minimal to no primary treatment. The discharge of this largely untreated domestic wastewater may cause serious environmental effects to aquatic habitats. Reuse of this water would present dual benefits: the reduction of fresh water extraction from overstressed non-renewable resources and the minimization of environmental impacts. This study introduces a fuzzy evaluation technique of treated wastewater reuse for agricultural and landscaping purposes. A fuzzy hierarchy structure has been developed to conduct this study, where fuzzy triangular membership functions are employed to capture relevant uncertainties. The analytical hierarchy process has been incorporated to develop priority matrices for different hierarchy level attributes. The uncertainty in developing priority matrices was minimized by incorporating experts’ judgments from relevant fields. Finally, a hypothetical case study was performed and future research directions outlined.

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