Info Day Magazine 2023: Aquatic research for sustainable development

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are to be implemented globally and by all United Nations member states, including Switzerland, by the year 2030.

This Info Day Magazine 2023 highlights how research undertaken at Eawag is contributing to the achievement of these goals.

Water is a common theme that winds its way like a blue thread through all of the various SDGs. Among the 17 goals are topics such as “Good Health and Well-being” (Goal 3), “Clean Water and Sanitation” (Goal 6), “Sustainable Cities and Communities” (Goal 11) and “Life Below Water” (Goal 14). What approaches can be taken in implementing the SDGs, both in Switzerland and around the world? What role does applied aquatic research play in helping to ensure water security and sustainable wastewater treatment for the future? The articles in this magazine shed light on these and other related topics.

In focus

“The Sustainable Development Goals are part of everything we do”

“The Sustainable Development Goals are part of everything we do”
Sustainability has been a key focus at Eawag for a long time – and not only since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Eawag researcher Christoph Lüthi, for one, has been working in this field for many years and helped to design this year’s Info Day.

Die Agenda 2030 und die 17 Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDGs) Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emerged as a continuation and amalgamation of two international agendas: the Millennium Development Goals from the year 2000 and Agenda 21, which was adopted at the UN Conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
«Der Weg stimmt, die Geschwindigkeit noch nicht»

“We’re on the right path, but the pace is still too slow”
The United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, and Switzerland is also committed to the 17 declared goals. Daniel Dubas, Federal Council delegate for Agenda 2030, explains why we are a “developing country”, what challenges we must overcome, and what role research plays in this.

Den Notausgang für Wasserlebewesen freihalten

Keeping the emergency exit clear for aquatic organisms
Just like humans, the inhabitants of rivers and streams need an emergency exit when they are faced with impending danger. But structures that would normally provide shelter during floods or droughts are now almost non-existent in straightened, channelised and built-up watercourses. How these refugia can be retained and restored is the subject of research by river ecologist Christine Weber.

Mehr Grün und Blau für lebenswerte Städte

More green and blue in cities to enhance liveability
There are many challenges that face cities in the era of climate change and rising population density, including heatwaves, floods, water shortages, loss of biodiversity and increasing demand for energy. Eawag is researching how these problems could be mitigated using blue-green infrastructure.

Schadstoffe im Grundwasser: Mit Machine Learning blinde Flecken aufdecken

Pollutants in groundwater: uncovering blind spots with machine learning
Eawag researchers Joel Podgorski and Michael Berg have developed a model that can be used to determine the risk of groundwater contamination – for example, with arsenic, fluoride or nitrate – on a worldwide basis despite extensive gaps in the measurement data..

Autarky – eine für alles Autarky – ultimate convenience in a one-stop solution
Eawag develops technologies for the decentralised treatment of wastewater in locations with no sewers or mains water supply. These technologies are not only of interest in the Global South.
Die Expertin für den Faktor Mensch

An expert in the human factor
What is a psychologist doing working at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology? A portrait of Nadja Contzen, who knows about the role humans play in the success of new water technologies and why handwashing is not a matter of course.

Low-Tech-Lösungen für sauberes Trinkwasser

Low-tech solutions for clean drinking water
In Nepal, the population enjoys relatively good access to a basic drinking water supply. However, the water quality is often insufficient. The water is rarely tested, because there is a lack of equipment. Researchers from Eawag therefore work to develop simple and affordable solutions that are suitable for local conditions and that people can maintain themselves.

Das Pestizidproblem im Dialog mit der Landwirtschaft lösen

Solving the pesticide problem in dialogue with agriculture
Pesticides put natural ecosystems and human health at risk. Through its research, Eawag is exposing the pesticide contamination in bodies of water and laying key foundations for more sustainable agricultural practices.

Cover picture: Symbols of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in which water is a central theme. These goals are at the heart of Eawag’s research (Watercolour: Eawag Communications / Philipp Ringli).


Dr. Christoph Lüthi Dr. Eng. Infrastructure Planning Tel. +41 58 765 5614 Send Mail
Claudia Carle Science editor Tel. +41 58 765 5946 Send Mail

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