Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Assessment of wastewater reuse potential for irrigation in rural semi-arid areas: the case study of Punitaqui, Chile

Revista : Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy
Volumen : 22
Número : 10
Páginas : 2231
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Wastewater reuse in agriculture has been identified as an adaptive solution to climate change. This practice copes with two of the most limiting factors that are affecting sustainable development in rural areas: the lack of sanitation services and water shortages. This paper proposes a multi-criteria methodological approach to evaluate wastewater reuse potential for irrigation in rural areas and to select the most sustainable and context-aware wastewater treatment technology. In order to validate the procedure, an empirical application for the Coquimbo region (Chile) was developed. The water balance conducted illustrated that the potential wastewater source can only partially substitute for the water canonical sources. According to local citizen preferences, among the three evaluated, the most sustainable wastewater treatment technology option consists of septic tank and constructed wetland. This study provides evidence for the relevance of integrating social and environmental criteria, in addition to technical and economic ones, for supporting decision-making processes related to wastewater reuse.