, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 707–717 | Cite as

Is Gray Water the Key to Unlocking Water for Resource-Poor Areas of the Middle East, North Africa, and Other Arid Regions of the World?

  • Eric C. Leas
  • Anne Dare
  • Wael K. Al-Delaimy


Support for the use of treated gray water as an alternative water resource in the Middle East and North Africa is high, especially given the lack of religious restrictions against its use, but several obstacles have kept application of treated gray water near 1 % in some areas. The largest of obstacles include the cost of treatment and the ambiguity surrounding the health safety of gray water and treated gray water. This paper aims to provide an overview of current gray water practices globally, with specific focus on household-level gray water practices in the Middle East and North Africa region, and highlight the need for cost reduction strategies and epidemiological evidence on the use of household-level gray water and treated gray water. Such actions are likely to increase the application of treated gray water in water-deprived areas of the Middle East and North Africa.


Gray water Health Middle East Epidemiology Wastewater MENA 



Financial support and logistical assistance provided in part by Purdue University’s Global Engineering Program and Aramex. Technical support, resources, and local expertise provided by the Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG). No conflict of interest is declared.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Global Health, Family and Preventive MedicineUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural and Biological EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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