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Consommation hydrique dans le traitement des eaux

Minimising water consumption in water treatment: efficient processes and practices

Veolia Water Technologies
by Veolia Water Technologies
31 May 2024
4 minutes read

    As Europe reels from historic heatwaves, droughts and record low river levels, a analysis by WWF in 2022, estimates that 17% of the continent's people and 13% of its GDP could face high to extreme water scarcity risks by 2050.

    Preservation of these crucial water sources is essential to ensure sustainable water management. This article reviews the most effective technologies for limiting the impact of an industrial site on water resources.

    Membrane filtration

    Membrane filtration processes, such as reverse osmosis (RO), are renowned for producing high-quality water while minimising water wastage. These technologies use semi-permeable membranes to separate impurities from the water, resulting in purified water and a concentrated brine stream. By effectively removing contaminants, membrane filtration processes reduce the need for extensive pre-treatment and minimise water losses during the treatment process.

    Ultrafiltration (UF) is a membrane filtration process commonly used in water treatment to separate suspended solids, colloids and high molecular weight substances. UF is often incorporated as a pre-treatment step in reverse osmosis (RO) systems to improve their overall efficiency.

    Veolia's ZW1500 is a pressurised UF membrane module. Its ultrafiltration barrier produces an effluent that meets or exceeds the most stringent treatment standards worldwide. The ZW1500 has an easy-to-use system consisting of an outside-in feed hollow fibre ultrafiltration membrane that allows for high solids tolerance. It produces high-quality feed water for optimum performance of the subsequent reverse osmosis (RO) system, which is thus protected fro

    High-efficiency reverse osmosis

    High-efficiency reverse osmosis systems are designed to maximise water recovery using advanced membrane configurations and optimisation techniques. These systems are capable of achieving high water recovery rates, often in excess of 90%, which significantly reduces water consumption compared to traditional RO processes. By recovering more of the feed water as purified water, high recovery RO systems minimise the amount of water discharged as brine.

    Veolia Water Technologies' latest innovation is a game changer for many industrial markets. CaptuRO™ is a high recovery reverse osmosis (RO) technology that has been designed specifically to extract purified water from industrial, brackish and wastewater sources. This means we can provide our customers with the highest permeate recycling, up to 98%, in many applications. The technology also minimises the volume of brine generated, reducing liquid waste disposal costs. This is accompanied by savings in electrical energy and the possibility of further optimising the use of antiscalants. Finally, this semi-batch process automatically adapts to variations in salt concentration in effluent recovery applications, enabling it to operate continuously at optimum recovery rates.

    Advanced oxidation processes (AOP)

    Advanced oxidation processes, such as ozone treatment and advanced ultraviolet (UV) disinfection, are effective in destroying organic compounds and contaminants in water. These processes can improve water quality while reducing reliance on chemical disinfectants, thereby minimising the treatment plant's overall water consumption.

    Biological treatment

    Biological treatment processes, such as activated sludge and moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBRs), are commonly used in wastewater treatment. These processes use microbial activity to break down organic matter and remove pollutants from the water. Biological treatment methods are known to be highly effective in removing pollutants and generally require less water than more conventional treatments.


    At Veolia, our solution membrane bioreactor (MBR) combines biological treatment using activated sludge and membrane filtration. Our MBR produces water of high quality that complies with current regulations in the most demanding situations: bathing water, reuse of treated water in irrigation (quality A) or recycling for industrial use.

    Water recycling and reuse systems

    By treating and reusing water for non-potable applications such as cleaning, irrigation, cooling or polymer preparation, water treatment plants can significantly reduce their dependence on fresh water sources and minimise overall water consumption.


    To meet these needs, Veolia teams developed the Evaled range of evaporators over 40 years ago. These technologies use low temperature evaporation processes to efficiently concentrate wastewater streams, minimise waste volume and produce a high quality reusable distillate. These technologies are designed to meet the specific needs of a variety of industries, including chemical, petrochemical, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, etc. The Evaled product range includes :

    • heat pump evaporators ;
    • cogeneration evaporators using sources of hot water or steam available and surplus on the industrial site;
    • mechanical vapour recompression (MVR) evaporators and crystallisers.

    This wide range offers sustainable and cost-effective solutions for wastewater management, the possible recovery of valuable materials and the reuse of distillates in situ.

    It is important to note that the selection of the most appropriate treatment processes depends on the specific water quality requirements, treatment objectives and resources available for each application. By combining different processes and technologies and implementing water-efficient practices, water systems can minimise the consumption of this precious resource and contribute to sustainable water management practices.

    Talk to one of our experts to find out how you can reuse and recycle water on your site

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