Society's Role

Investments in innovative wastewater systems need to be financed through taxpayers’ money or water charges, depending on a country’s regulatory framework. In either case, citizens, who will eventually benefit from these investments, will have to bear the cost of these new investments.

Citizens’ attitudes, preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for upgrading wastewater infrastructures to cope with the effects from climate change has not been studied in-depth. The ALICE project is advancing research in this area by exploring the use of diverse methods, namely revealed preferences, stated preferences and experimental economics to explore social behaviour for the attributes of innovative urban wastewater systems. As many wastewater reuse projects have failed to win public acceptance, ALICE explores how “nudges” for behaviour change can facilitate the public acceptance of water reuse.

WW Urban Resilience
There is a shortage of assessment tools for climate change risk and vulnerability of wastewater infrastructure in urban areas, limiting identification of good adaptation measures and strategies to be incorporated in local plans. The ALICE project will fill in the gap, proposing a new approach and validating it through two different case studies in Belfast (Northern Ireland) and Murcia (South of Spain), whose main challenge is flooding and drought, respectively.
Reclaimed WW Reuse
The reuse of reclaimed urban wastewater has been emphasized within EU water policy as a possible alternative water source in regions of water scarcity. The ALICE project will explore the potential for use of low-energy demand processes like solar advanced oxidation processes (AOP), and solar Membrane Distillation/Forward Osmosis for reclaimed WW for removing priority substances, emerging contaminants and waterborne pathogens related to human health and food security.
WW & Energy Nexus
Tools are needed to enhance the potential for energy and resource optimisation. Studies on the WW and renewable energy nexus have mainly focused on a single technology for WW treatment as a source of renewable energy while the integration and management of different renewable and WW treatments remains untapped. The ALICE project will explore how to optimally manage different renewable energy systems in WW utilities and to limit the impact on the grid through the use of excess electricity from intermittent renewable sources.