The Qatari public supports reuse of treated industrial water, especially in ‘low contact use’ areas such as urban landscaping, shows a research survey conducted by Al-Attiyah Foundation and the Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).
The research was done to discover public perception on treated industrial wastewater from the oil and gas industries for everyday applications.
The comprehensive study was carried out by HBKU student Fatima-Zahra Lahlou, under the supervision of professors Dr Tareq al-Ansari and Dr Hamish Mackey.
Data from the survey reveals that the majority of people are comfortable with the idea of reusing treated industrial wastewater, especially in ‘low contact use’ areas such as urban landscaping which involves watering gardens, parks and communal green areas.
It said clean treated industrial wastewater for firefighting received the highest rate of acceptance, with almost 90% saying they have no objection to its use.
Cooking received the lowest acceptance rate among all the applications, with only 19% of the respondents saying they would use it for the activity.
Acceptance rates increased with age. Results show that people over 50, who hold a bachelor’s or graduate degree, would be happy to use it for filling swimming pools and clothes washing, among other activities.
Those who believe reusing clean treated industrial wastewater is an environmentally friendly practice were more likely to accept its use in high contact areas such as cooking and bathing.
Respondents who see it as an opportunity to reduce water scarcity were more in favour to use at a low contact level.
Although the survey shows most people interviewed are excited to see wastewater in low contact areas there is a moderate degree of resistance to its use.
Some 58% had concerns that the practice may cause health problems, with 40% of those admitting to being ill informed on the topic.
This suggests that further educational and awareness campaigns, led by research institutes and health practitioners, may be required to quell any health fears respondents may have and outline its environmental benefits.
The full research paper has recently been published in a leading international academic journal ‘Water Resources & Industry’ and is now being circulated among the Al-Attiyah Foundation’s prestigious member companies and international partners, as well as being made available to the general public.