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August 22, 2017 - Wastewater and Water Reuse

A sanitation worker in Chennai, India. Photo Credit: USAID/India
This issue of Currents features articles and reports related to wastewater and water reuse, to tie in with the theme of World Water Week 2017 taking place in Stockholm, Sweden next week. This annual event brings together experts, practitioners, and decisionmakers from a range of sectors and countries to network, exchange ideas, and foster new thinking about global water issues. 
World Water Week, August 27–September 1, 2017. This year World Water Week, organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), will address the theme “water and waste: reduce and reuse.” The conference website has links to the conference program, conference abstracts, conference newsletters, and other information. In addition, SIWI’s latest issue of its magazine Water Front contains articles on water reuse. Other conference events include the award of the 2017 Stockholm Water Prize to Stephen McCaffrey for his contributions to international water law.

USAID at World Water Week. USAID staff and partners will participate in events throughout the week. For information and a schedule see the conference preview on our new blog.

Articles and Reports
Potable Reuse: Guidance for Producing Safe Drinking-Water. WHO, August 2017. This document describes how to apply appropriate management systems to produce safe drinking water from municipal wastewater. Information is provided on specific aspects of potable reuse, including the quality and protection of source wastewaters and types of control measures. 

World Water Development Report 2017: Wastewater, the Untapped Resource. United Nations, March 2017. This report informs decisionmakers and others about the importance of managing wastewater as an undervalued and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients, and other recoverable byproducts, rather than something to be disposed of or a nuisance to be ignored.

Reducing the Burden of Rural Water Supply through Greywater Reuse: A Case Study from Northern Malawi. Water Science & Technology: Water Supply, January 2017. The feasibility of reusing gray water for domestic activities in a rural area of Malawi was evaluated from microbiological and public acceptance perspectives.

Addressing Water Scarcity through Recycling and Reuse: A Menu for Policymakers/Perspective on Latin America, Brazil and Mexico. GE Water & Process Technologies, March 2017. This paper highlights many of the positive steps that governments throughout the region have already taken to address water scarcity. Because water recycling and reuse solutions are most commonly implemented in communities with limited water supplies, it highlights four major types of policy strategies to increase water recycling and reuse in Latin America.

Inclusive Business Models for Wastewater Treatment. Innovation Policy Platform, April 2017. Enterprises have developed integrated, affordable wastewater treatment solutions for industries and households to encourage reuse or safe disposal. These solutions aim to be efficient, affordable, and convenient. This publication focuses on two major types of wastewater treatment plants—household (residential) systems and industrial systems.

Safe Use of Wastewater in Agriculture: Good Practice Examples. UN University, 2016. Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) systems such as riverbank filtration and soil-aquifer treatment all involve the use of natural subsurface systems to improve the quality of recharged water before reuse. This report covers key aspects of a case study on virus removal at MAR systems located in the United States. MAR projects may also be economically viable for developing countries.
Investing in Water: Tapping into a Source of Resilient Growth. Impax, November 2016. This paper highlights some of the interesting new developments and technologies in the rapidly growing water industry. It discusses the drivers of this market, catalysts for further change, and the impact of tightening global water and water-related regulations.

Twelve Ways to Turn Water from Waste to Resource. The Guardian, March 2017. An expert panel in this article discusses how to promote water reuse in light of the fact that 80 percent of the world’s wastewater flows untreated into the environment.

Setting Water Quality Criteria for Agricultural Water Reuse Purposes. Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination, June 2017. The use of reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation is practiced worldwide and will increase in the future. This study elaborates on water quality objectives for a water reuse project in a setting where national guidelines do not exist.

Recycling Sewage into Drinking Water Is No Big Deal: They've Been Doing it in Namibia for 50 Years. PRI, December 2016. The Goreangab waste treatment plant is where most of the wastewater from Windhoek’s 300,000 residents ends up. But here, in the middle of a desert in a remote corner of southern Africa, they’ve been recycling wastewater for almost 50 years. It’s cutting-edge technology, but it’s based on the humblest of creatures—bacteria.

Researchers Test Nifty Way to Save Water in Informal Settlements. GroundUp, June 2017. A partnership among the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch Municipality, and the Western Cape government is turning an abandoned water treatment facility into a center for water reuse research and innovation. The goal of The Water Hub, as the project has been named, is to demonstrate how effectively natural water systems can clean storm water runoff.

Wastewater Treatment and Reuse in Urban Agriculture: Exploring the Food, Energy, Water, and Health Nexus in Hyderabad, India. Environmental Research Letters, July 2017. Nutrients and water found in domestic treated wastewater are valuable and can be reused in urban agriculture as a potential strategy to provide communities with access to fresh produce. Researchers examine how this can be done by conducting a field study in the rapidly developing city of Hyderabad, India.

Sanitation, Wastewater Management and Sustainability: From Waste Disposal to Resource Recovery. Stockholm Environment Institute, November 2016. This report discusses some of the latest thinking and experiences on how to make sanitation and wastewater management more sustainable and on how these practices can contribute to broader societal sustainability.

Potentials of Waste and Wastewater Resources Recovery and Re-Use (RRR) Options for Improving Water, Energy and Nutrition Security. Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, May 2017. Accepted safety measures should be considered in the use of waste and wastewater resources to prevent environmental and health risks. Focusing on potential benefits from resources recycling and recovery yet being cautious of their external effects, this review critically assesses the available waste and wastewater treatment options, and their economic, environmental, and health benefits and risks.

End-User Cost-Benefit Prioritization for Selecting Rainwater Harvesting and Greywater Reuse in Social Housing. Water, July 2017. Rainwater harvesting and gray water reuse are increasingly being considered as water reuse options. To better understand the prioritization of costs and benefits by potential end-users, this paper presents an assessment of these systems in households in Colombia.

Urban Sewage in Brazil: Drivers of and Obstacles to Wastewater Treatment and Reuse. Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, 2016. This case study analyzes the factors that drive or hinder wastewater collection and treatment in urban Brazil and discusses the potential for wastewater reuse and its current constraints.
Yale Scientists Developing Method to Distill Sea Water. Bristol Herald Courier, August 2017. In this new approach to desalination, salt water rests above a layer of nanoparticles that help heat the water to between 40 and 60 degrees Celsius (104 to 140 Fahrenheit) when hit with rays from the sun. The water then evaporates, leaving salt and other contaminants behind, and moves to another container through a porous membrane.

Thirsty City: After Months of Water Rationing Nairobi May Run Dry. The Guardian, July 2017. The water available to the city has plummeted. Nairobi’s water company is distributing 400,000 cubic meters a day, 150,000 less than it used to, and 350,000 less than the city needs; 60 percent of the population lacks reliable water.

Kale Power: Water for Crops Gives Women in Kenya's Drylands a Voice. Reuters, August 2017. With help from the Millennium Water Alliance’s Kenya RAPID program, which is funded in part by USAID, women in the driest regions of Africa are learning to adopt more sustainable farming methods such as growing kale and onions under shade nets that protect the crops from predators and the sun's intensity. They are also installing drip irrigation system under the nets to use water more efficiently.

Collectively Managing South Asia’s Stressed Water Resources. IPS News, August 2017. Experts and policymakers say that regional cooperation is a must to resolve long-standing water problems in South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, and Nepal. There are many transboundary rivers, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna, in the region. Bangladesh in particular faces severe water problems, like flooding and riverbank erosion, due in part to a lack of cooperation with its neighbors.

MCC Mobilizes Private-Sector Investment to Expand Access to Water in Jordan. New Security Beat, August 2017. The Millennium Challenge Corporation helped Jordan develop an innovative public-private partnership to fund the expansion of its environmentally friendly As-Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant, which now treats 70 percent of the country’s wastewater. USAID helped fund the initial construction of the plant in 2008 and served as a key partner in its expansion.

If you would like to feature your organization's materials or suggest other content for upcoming issues of Water Currents, please send them to Dan Campbell, Knowledge Creation/WASH Specialist, at
USAID Water Team, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment.
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20523
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Disclaimer: This newsletter is intended to monitor and share current news and research relevant to the water sector. Items included in this publication are not endorsements and do not represent the views of USAID or the U.S. Government, unless stated otherwise.