2016/08/28 Dresden, Germany
More than 20 million hectares of land are irrigated with wastewater today, and much of it is not based on any scientific criteria ensuring its safe use. But stakeholders are eager to learn!
In face of increasing water scarcity, recognising wastewater as a resource has been a crucial step towards ensuring future water security. Today, more than 20 million hectares of land are irrigated with wastewater. However, much of this practice is not based on any scientific criteria ensuring the safe use of the wastewater. The new book Safe Use of Wastewater in Agriculture: Good Practice Examples, launched by the United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES), is a useful resource for Governments interested in learning from existing ventures.
“A sound understanding of the opportunities and potential risks must be the base for any use of wastewater. In order to address the technical, institutional, and policy challenges of safe water reuse, developing countries and countries in transition need clear institutional arrangements,” UNU-FLORES Director Reza Ardakanian explained. “The SUWA Initiative partners were approached by a number of countries with the request to help them address these capacity needs.”
In response to this request, UNU-FLORES identified several interesting case studies from around the world in 2015 exemplifying the practice of wastewater use in agriculture across the globe. These were discussed at a workshop in Lima, Peru, in February 2016 attended by experts, researchers, and ministerial representatives from 15 different countries. The book is the result of that workshop. It includes 17 case studies selected from Latin America, Asia, and Africa addressing three different dimensions of the topic: Section I – Technological Advances; Section II – Health & Environmental Aspects; and Section III – Policy & Implementation Issues. The aim of the editors is to enhance not only north-south but also south-south knowledge sharing.
At the 2016 World Water Week in Stockholm this week, UNU-FLORES is also co-convening two seminars on wastewater use and is giving away complimentary copies of the book Safe Use of Wastewater in Agriculture: Good Practice Examples at the United Nations University stand (#35) in the Exhibition area.
Hettiarachchi, Hiroshan and Reza Ardakanian, eds. 2016. Safe Use of Wastewater in Agriculture: Good Practice Examples. Dresden: UNU-FLORES. (Available for download here)
Rachel Shindelar, Communications and Advocacy Associate
Stand #35, World Water Week 2016
UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY
Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES)
Ammonstrasse 74, 01067 Dresden, Germany
Tel: + 49 1771737676
Fax: + 49 351 8921 9389
United Nations University Institute on the Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources
The United Nations University aims to develop sustainable solutions for pressing global problems of human survival and development. The Institute for the Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) was established in Dresden, Germany in December 2012. The Institute engages in research, capacity development, advanced teaching and training. UNU-FLORES develops strategies to resolve pressing issues in the area of sustainable use and integrated management of environmental resources such as water, soil, and waste.
Safe Use of Wastewater in Agriculture (SUWA) Initiative
In 2011 seven UN-Water members, partners, and programmes joined efforts to address the capacity needs of countries with regards to the Safe Use of Wastewater in Agriculture (SUWA). UN-Water is a United Nations inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater related issues, including sanitation. The seven members were namely: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), and UN-Water Decade Programme for Capacity Development (UNW-DPC). Between 2011 and 2013, capacity development activities brought together 160 representatives from 73 UN Member States from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In 2015, the coordination of the SUWA initiative was transferred to the United Nations University, with UNU-FLORES and UNU-INWEH at its helm.
The current phase of SUWA aims to support UN Member States in developing their national capacities in focus areas identified and prioritised during 2011–2015, promoting the safer and more productive use of wastewater. Developing countries and countries in transition remain the focus. Sharing information between countries/regions on good practice examples of safe water reuse in agriculture is one of the important objectives identified during the early phase of the SUWA initiative.