The watch words for the water sector, courtesy of Turner & Townsend’s sustainability team.
EU Water Framework Directive (WFD)This came into force on 23rd October 2000. It was designed to enable more effective management of the EU’s water resources in terms of tackling pollution and water conservation. The directive aims to take a holistic viewpoint of water resources, incorporating all inland, coastal and groundwater.
It also instigates the use of the river basin as the most suitable management unit, recognising that water resources cross national boundaries. The ultimate, if slightly vague, aim is that all surface and groundwater bodies achieve ‘good’ environmental status by 2015.
Potable WaterWater fit for human consumption. In the UK, mains water is potable, hence we have the slightly incongruous situation that drinking water is used to flush our toilets, water plants and wash our cars. Therefore a large quantity of potable water is needlessly wasted.
GreywaterWaste water collected from domestic activities such as baths, showers and laundry which is not contaminated with sewage. Whilst often defined as waste water, the potential for re-use of greywater means that this terminology is not entirely suitable.
Consideration needs to be made as to the mode of re-use. For instance water from laundry may have a high level of salt-based detergent which is not suitable for irrigating soil. Even water re-used for toilet flushing may need some treatment.