Additional costs of the water treatment are not charged to the farmers who reuse the water.
Water reused has a low rate of implementation in Europe, mainly because the lack of economic incentives for the potential consumers.
Government of Murcia has tried to promote the reusing through several measures, and one of them consists of exemption of the additional costs of water treatment to the farmers, who most of them.
Water Directives forces the sanitation of the water before being discharged into the water bodies, with at least a secondary treatment (that means a physical plus biological sanitation), however, most of the vegetable crops of this Region, whose edible parts contact with the irrigation water, require a tertiary treatment according to the law.
Users are financing the systems, since farmers are only recovering a waste that otherwise would be discharged into the water bodies and the last beneficiaries of this practice would be the own users, who are really paying the treatment costs.
This exemption is considered like a grant so as to promote the reusing which, besides, helps to reduce the overexploitation of the rest of the water sources as, for example, the groundwater, allowing to prioritize this sustainable water source upon other water sources more polluting.

Resources needed

The organization in charge of the sanitation of the water needs to have any public power to be able to exempt to the farmers of the payment of the additional cost of water treatment.

Evidence of success

The most important evidence is the data of reusing water of Murcia Region; 65 % of the waste water is reused directly.

Difficulties encountered

There is a controversial about whether farmers should pay or not for the additional treatment costs, so the application of this measure cannot be very long and it should be last until farmers get used to reusing water for irrigation.

Potential for learning or transfer

This practice can be very interesting for regions which have not started to reuse any water and require solutions for fostering it.

Main institution
Región de Murcia, Spain (España)
Start Date
May 2001
End Date


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