Flow of water in the linear water use model and in the wastewater reuse model with crop production. 

Flow of water in the linear water use model and in the wastewater reuse model with crop production. 

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Reusing wastewater in agriculture has attracted increasing attention as a strategy to support the transition towards the circular economy in the water and agriculture sector. As a consequence, there is great interest in solutions for governing the transactions and interdependences between the associated value chains. This paper explores the institu...

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... the thinking of the circular economy to water means to transform the conventional linear water use model-which is based on extracting, treating, distributing, consuming, collecting, treating, and disposing water-into a circular water use model [54]. In such a model, "wastewater is not considered as waste but rather as a valuable non-conventional resource" [55] (p. 229) that can generate additional added-value [9,22], and that should be circulated to preserve natural resources of water and nutrients [55]. In contrast to the linear model where water becomes successively polluted [56], the circular water use model aims at reducing pollution [57]. Further aims of the circular water economy are the reduction of freshwater demand, the reuse of wastewater [57][58][59], and increased retention of water [57]. We refer to this model but focus only on the reuse of wastewater in agriculture. Figure 1 shows the flow of water in the linear water use model, in contrast to the wastewater reuse model with crop production. The figure indicates that human water consumption is based on the treatment and distribution of water resources extracted from the natural system. After consumption, wastewater is ideally collected for treatment. Subsequently, the treated water is used in two different ways depending on the economic water use model. In the linear model the treated water leaves the economy via disposal without further use. In this case, crop production depends exclusively on extracting water from the natural system. By contrast, in the wastewater reuse model the treated wastewater circulates in the economy through various options for reuse [59], including crop production. In this case, the figure shows that the reuse of treated wastewater is an option for turning wastewater into a resource and reducing the demand for natural fresh water resources in crop production. Our approach for analyzing the reuse of wastewater in the circular economy is based on the concept of value chains, and focuses on the linkages and interdependences between the value chains of wastewater treatment and crop production at the local level. Value chains include "the full range of activities which are required to bring a product or service from conception, through the different phases of production (involving a combination of physical transformation and the input of various producer services), delivery to final consumers, and final disposal after use" [60] (p. 4). In the case of wastewater reuse in agriculture, several goods and services are produced, including treated water and crops. Commonly, these goods pertain to distinct value chains. In the scrutinized case of wastewater reuse in agriculture, however, the production of treated water and crops goes together. This leads us to assume linkages and interdependences between the value chains of wastewater treatment and crop production in the scrutinized case. These interdependences may be due to the joint use of resources (e.g., land), the sharing of substances through input-output relations (e.g., water and nutrients), as well as immaterial interactions and interdependence of activities and actors (e.g., interdependence of irrigation and crop cultivation practices' respective providers and users of water) ...

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