The primary objectives of urban water management is provision of drinking water and water for personal hygiene, protection against flooding, and securing urban hygiene, while at the same time protecting the natural environment. In order to provide these services, large infrastructures are set up for drinking water provision, urban drainage, and wastewater treatment and an entire water and wastewater industry has developed.
Since the 21st century is characterized by growing resource scarcity, primarily driven by rapid population growth, increasing living standards, and climate change, resource efficiency has become a major objective in the area of urban water management.
In order to provide the services of urban water management, resources are needed. Obviously, water is required, but also energy and other natural resources as well as financial means. In the last decades, attention has been drawn to the fact that resources are also contained in waste products. This is also true for urban water management where wastewater contains significant resources, most prominently water, energy, and nutrients.
In the group of Urban Water Resource Management, the hypothesis is pursued that source separation and decentralization is one key to reach resource efficiency. First explored through the example of urine source separation in the cross-cutting project Novaquatis, the principle was successful implemented in the Blue Diversion projects. The results show a high potential for resource efficiency and helped frame the strategic program Wings (Water and sanitation innovations for non-grid solutions), which connect many similar projects under a common roof.
Water and sanitation innovations for non-grid solutions (Wings) is a strategic Eawag program, which build on relevant projects in different Eawag departments. The main objective is identical to the objective of the Urban Water Resource Management Group: to provide the urban water management services as resource-efficient as possible, mainly by exploring the possibilities of source separation and decentralization.
This project will address urban areas with high population density, network-based wastewater management infrastructure, and high technological, operational and regulatory abilities in the water management sector. The key issue potentially leading to an interest in a Wings solution is high population growth causing a requirement for an extension of existing wastewater treatment plants. This is one of the base scenarios that has been addressed in previous work at Eawag (Novaquatis). An additional issue of importance in Europe is the discussion of pharmaceuticals, which are to a large degree excreted via urine. A number of stakeholders are interested in this issue as an important extra bonus for the introduction of urine separation in the growing parts of a city.
Climate-friendly wastewater management. Publication: Larsen 2015 (Water Research Article in refshare SWW 2015)
Blue Diversion, Phase 2
www.bluediversiontoilet.com. IWA Project Innovation Awards.
Blue Diversion, Phase 1
www.bluediversiontoilet.com. Award from the Bill & Melinda Gated Foundation.
www.novaquatis.eawag.ch. 2008 td-net Award for Transdisciplinary Research. www.novaquatis.eawag.ch/publikationen/Prize/index
Source Separation & Decentralization for Wastewater Management. http://www.iwapublishing.com/books/9781843393481/source-separation-and-decentralization-wastewater-management