Wastewater is grossly undervalued as a potential resource. All too frequently wastewater is ignored and left to drain away.
Smart and sustained investment in wastewater management will generate multiple dividends in society, the economy and the environment. It can involve both private and public sectors, fulfilling public needs as well as social equity and enhance food security.
Immediate, targeted and sustained investments should take multiple forms.
They should be designed to
- (i) reduce the volume and extent of water pollution through preventative practices;
- (ii) capture water once it has been polluted;
- (iii) treat polluted water using appropriate technologies and techniques for return to the environment;
- (iv) where feasible safely reuse and recycle wastewater thereby conserving water and nutrients; and
- (v) provide a platform for the development of new and innovative technologies and management practices.
If investments such as these are scaled up appropriately they will generate social, economic and environmental dividends far exceeding original investments for years to come.