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New reports published on opportunities in wastewater management and resource recovery in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam

Effective management of wastewater remains a persistent problem in East Asia, with discharge of untreated wastewater from domestic, industrial and agricultural sources a common occurrence. Across Asia, a majority of sewage still finds its way to rivers, lakes and coastal zones and oceans without any treatment. The impacts on freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities have been significant, including hypoxia, loss of fisheries productivity and biodiversity, and damage to human health.

Based on extensive research and discussion with key actors in the water and wastewater sector in-country, PEMSEA  and ARCOWA SA, supported by the GEF and UNDP, have developed country overviews of wastewater management and resource recovery for Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Investing in wastewater treatment facilities has been shown to be profitable. New technologies continue to emerge for extracting water, energy and nutrients from wastewater streams. Products derived from these can be marketed to make the treatment of wastewater —a service each municipal government should provide to its citizens and each industry should actively implement — a profitable business not dependent on only taxes and tariffs.

Overcoming the institutional barriers, operational challenges and financial constraints will be critical to expanding wastewater treatment and reducing pollution. Capitalizing on the new technologies to recover valuable resources from wastewater provides a new impetus for the sector and can improve its financial sustainability. While the business case for recovering resources from wastewater has been proven in certain demonstration cases, there is a need to further understand the potential for wastewater treatment and resource recovery in East Asia.

The reports aim to improve the understanding of the urban and industrial wastewater sector as a basis for further analyzing opportunities to invest in wastewater treatment and resource recovery, as an initial step in the potential mobilization of public and private investments in wastewater treatment and resource recovery.

Key questions that the reports address include:

  • What is the current status of water resources?
  • What are the common characteristics of urban and industrial wastewater management?
  • What are the in-country experiences to-date with different aspects of wastewater resource recovery, including water re-use, bio-energy production and nutrient recovery?
  • What is the institutional and regulatory setting for development of the water and wastewater services sector in relation to wastewater treatment and resource recovery?
  • What is the capacity at the national level regarding wastewater management and resource recovery?
  • What are potential sources of (co-)funding for wastewater treatment facilities?

Learn more about investments for sustainable development of coasts and oceans in East Asia in the breakout session on Filling the Pipeline: A Sustainable Ocean Investment Ecosystem for the Seas of East Asia at the East Asian Seas Congress 2018, next week Nov 27-30 in Iloilo City, Philippines.

Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) is an intergovernmental organization operating in East Asia to foster and sustain healthy and resilient oceans, coasts, communities and economies across the region. Through integrated coastal management solutions and partnerships, PEMSEA works with local and national governments, international development organizations, companies, investors and research institutions towards sustainable development of coasts and oceans in East Asia. For more information visit www.pemsea.org.

ARCOWA SA is and advisory firm that offers a fresh approach to sustainable development strategies, solutions and investments. Drawing together diverse people, disciplines and ideas, we translate leading thinking and practice into world-wide and locally grounded initiatives that catalyze new opportunities and investments with a lasting impact. ARCOWA helps creating water security through focusing on managing water scarcity and drought under climate change; transitioning wastewater treatment in resource recovery facilities that safeguard human health and restore water resources and, applying a combination of green and grey infrastructure to manage freshwater and marine ecosystems and resources. For more information visit www.arcowa.com.