Water reuse in agriculture: a concept in Belgium

#Cut flower production #Sequencing batch reactor #water reuse #nutrient recycling #belgium
Two foil greenhouses are surrounded with green areas and planted fining ponds; people visiting or working in the farm store can be seen.
Possible new landscape in the Dreiländerpark, not far from the Belgian municipality of Raeren - collage of the modular hydroponic greenhouse in balanced interplay with blue-green infrastructure and landscape embedded in the adjacent NATURA 2000 area. Copyright: aquatectura.

A case study in Belgium showed that even in regions without acute water shortages, agricultural water reuse can attract the interest of practitioners if it generates benefits for stakeholders.

The HypoWave concept deals with solutions for high-quality water and nutrient reuse in agriculture. In addition to the targeted treatment of municipal wastewater, the focus is on its use in a hydroponic greenhouse for crop production. This feasibility study in Raeren, Belgium, shows a concrete implementation concept that was developed through interviews, site visits, working meetings and stakeholder workshops together with local actors. Parts of Raeren so far only have settling pits and sewers but no wastewater treatment. The developed concept meets the requirements of a robust, flexible technology consisting of a settling pond, Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) and fining pond as preparation for irrigation water production for hydroponic greenhouse production of cut flowers, in this case chrysanthemums. The expected discharge levels take into account the ecological and hydraulic requirements of the watershed and can contribute to improved water body condition through the introduced wastewater treatment. The outlined operator model shows the possibilities of cooperation among the involved actors, municipality, wastewater disposal company and greenhouse operator. The economic feasibility study shows the potentials of the economic operation of the greenhouse if the wastewater treatment costs are taken over by the wastewater disposal company. The developed concept contributes to the common good in several ways: it can improve the settlement water management situation in the considered settlement areas, it reuses water and nutrients in a future-oriented agriculture and it enables a social-economic greenhouse operation. The combination with short rotation plantation, reed polder and fining pond enables further synergy effects such as a more extensive purification of the water, the additional production of biomass and the good embedding of the plant in the landscape.

Water resource: Treated water, Wastewater
Type of product:
  • Guides & educational materials
  • Management concepts & assessments
Application sector: Agriculture, Cities and municipalities
Funding measure: WavE
Project: HypoWave

Contact and partners

Logo ISOE – Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung
  • ISOE – Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung,
  • Hamburger Allee 45,
  • 60486 Frankfurt am Main

ISOE – Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung,
Frankfurt am Main
aquatectura – Studios für regenerative Landschaften,
Fraunhofer Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB,

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