Maximising Wastewater Use Requires More Knowledge

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  • 2016•09•28     Stockholm

    Although wastewater is a valuable resource that can be used to improve human and ecosystem health, understanding the difference between safe use and risky use is key.

    At World Water Week 2016 that took place in Stockholm from 28 August to 2 September, the UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) organised two seminars and a book launch focusing on reusing wastewater as a resource.

    The first seminar, “Wastewater Reuse for Enhanced Food and Non-Food Value Chains”, looked at the opportunities for using wastewater within multifunctional land-use systems in urban transition zones in sub-Saharan Africa. UNU-FLORES co-convened the session with the Center for Environmental Systems Research of the University of Kassel, the German Development Institute (DIE-GDI), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    After brief statements from Marlos De Souza (FAO), Ines Drombrowsky (DIE-GDI), Birguy Lamizana (UNEP), and Tamara Avellán (UNU-FLORES), the moderator, Eduardo Mansur (FAO), collected questions and comments via a live Twitter stream (#4WastewaterReuse), engaging the audience to understand more about financing mechanisms and constraints.

    Following the seminar, UNU-FLORES launched a new book, Safe Use of Wastewater in Agriculture: Good Practice Examples, which focuses on opportunities for capacity development. It is intended to be a useful resource for national governments interested in learning from existing ventures.

    The second seminar, organised by UNU-FLORES and UNEP, highlighted the value of wastewater as a resource for food production (irrigation, fertilisation), employment, and electricity generation. It focused on the role of wastewater in implementing integrated water resource management approaches in developing countries.

    The session began with a presentation from Stephan Uhlenbrook (UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme), who discussed the connection to the implementation of the SDG6, Target 6.3. This was followed by presentations from actors working on wastewater-related projects in Cabo Verde, Mauritius, Georgia, and Morocco, under the umbrella of the UNEP/UNDP/GEF Atlantic and Indian Ocean SIDS Integrated Water Resources Management Project. UNU-FLORES Director Reza Ardakanian concluded the session by outlining the research and education landscape in the field.

    For more information, see the news story on the UNU-FLORES website.