The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the National Association of Entrepreneurs of Colombia (ANDI) today presented resolution 1256 of November 23, 2021, which regulates the use of wastewater in the country, an alternative for areas of scarcity of the liquid and to which the aqueduct companies and other users of the water resource may apply.
This resolution is a valuable instrument in the framework of the efficient use of water, and allows promoting greater use of natural resources, under the circular economy model, which promotes recycling, reduction and reuse.
Carlos Eduardo Correa, Minister of the Environment, said at the launching ceremony that with the reuse of water it is intended that, for example, a Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) can now allocate wastewater to agricultural or industrial uses, thus reducing discharges and increasing reuse in other activities.
“We are taking care of Colombia’s water. And everything that this resolution allows us to do is circular economy, a model that the National Government has been implementing because we are convinced that, by recycling, reusing and reducing consumption, we are making an enormous contribution to the planet, by mitigating climate change, a threat that we face with strategies and goals, among them, that of reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 51% by 2030, to achieve, among other purposes, carbon neutrality by 2050. It is with actions that we are fulfilling the country”, indicated Correa.
The minister added that wastewater that complies with the provisions of resolution 1256, It can be used for irrigation of crops, green areas and maintenance of parks. “You can always have it as an alternate supply source,” Correa pointed out.
To its turn, Bruce MacMaster, president of ANDI, expressed: “Water treatment is a priority for businessmen, and the reuse standard contributes to making more self-sustaining treatment systems by opening a window of opportunities that allows taking advantage of the potential of residual water, to stop seeing it as waste and use it as a resource. It is everyone’s responsibility to move towards new practices aimed at the circular economy, which is why we celebrate this milestone.”
The new regulations establishes the provisions related to the use of wastewater (these are used or served, of domestic or non-domestic origin), and applies to environmental authorities and users of said water, but does not apply to the use of water as fertilizer or soil conditioner.
The standard clarifies that recirculation is the use of wastewater in unit operations and processes within the same economic activity that generates it, while Reuse is the use of wastewater for a use other than that which generates it.neror.
In this sense, “provided that it is technically and economically viable, all users of water resources may recirculate their wastewater, without requiring environmental authorization,” the resolution states.
Minister Correa He also indicated that the Minambiente has been articulating its strategies and plans with the communities and the modern regulatory framework in which it is working. Hence, the Climate Action Law (2169 of 2021) establishes as target the reuse of 10% of domestic wastewater by 2030 by the providers of the public aqueduct service. This promotes an active co-responsibility of the operators, pointing to protection guidelines and efficient use of water resources.
“It has been three years of work from all sectors. Today we present this resolution to be at the forefront, at a global level, in concrete actions for the reuse of water. What follows from the Minambiente is that, through our Savia National Environmental Training School, we reach all the territories to educate on this issue,” the official pointed out.