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An evaluation of the theoretical potential and practical opportunity for using greywater for domestic purposes in Ghana

Hyde, K. and Maradza, E. (2013) An evaluation of the theoretical potential and practical opportunity for using greywater for domestic purposes in Ghana. Journal of Cleaner Production, 60. pp. 195-200. ISSN 0959-6526

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.05.004


Assessments concerning the effects of climate change, water resource availability and water deprivation in West Africa have not frequently considered the positive contribution to be derived from collecting and reusing water for domestic purposes. Where the originating water is taken from a clean water source and has been used the first time for washing or bathing, this water is commonly called “greywater”. Greywater is a prolific resource that is generated wherever people live. Treated greywater can be used for domestic cleaning, for flushing toilets where appropriate, for washing cars, sometimes for watering kitchen gardens, and for clothes washing prior to rinsing. Therefore, a large theoretical potential exists to increase total water resource availability if greywater were to be widely reused. Locally treated greywater reduces the distribution network requirement, lower construction effort and cost and, wherever possible, minimising the associated carbon footprint. Such locally treated greywater offers significant practical opportunities for increasing the total available water resources at a local level. The reuse of treated greywater is one important action that will help to mitigate the reducing availability of clean water supplies in some areas, and the expected mitigation required in future aligns well with WHO/UNICEF (2012) aspirations. The evaluation of potential opportunities for prioritising greywater systems to support water reuse takes into account the availability of water resources, water use indicators and published estimates in order to understand typical patterns of water demand. The approach supports knowledge acquisition regarding local conditions for enabling capacity building for greywater reuse, the understanding of systems that are most likely to encourage greywater reuse, and practices and future actions to stimulate greywater infrastructure planning, design and implementation. Although reuse might be considered to increase the uncertainty of achieving a specified quality of the water supply, robust methods and technologies are available for local treatment. Resource strategies for greywater reuse have the potential to consistently improve water efficiency and availability in water impoverished and water stressed regions of Ghana and West Africa. Untreated greywater is referred to as “greywater”; treated greywater is referred to as “treated greywater” in this paper.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Urban Living group
Science > School of the Built Environment > Energy and Environmental Engineering group
ID Code:40349

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