About the Author

Name and title(s):

Dr Guy Hutton.

Areas of expertise:

Economics and financing.

Dr Guy Hutton is Senior Advisor for WASH at UNICEF, based in New York, and is on the Editorial Board for Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development.

 

Thoughts on World Water Day

This year’s UN World Water Day is dedicated to wastewater. This theme is very timely, given that the world has committed through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to treating and reusing more wastewater. However, we should stop seeing wastewater as a ‘waste’ and only a cost to deal with. It is in fact a vital resource, especially for water scarce countries and river basins. Many government authorities and industries already see the value in partially treating municipal wastewater to standards required for agricultural or industrial uses. In Singapore, municipal wastewater is even treated to the point of being used again for drinking water. Hence, as water resources come under more and more pressure from growing populations and growing per capita needs, it is important that countries not only align their policies in support of SDG target 6.3, but also invest resources to implement and monitor wastewater treatment and reuse programmes, and evaluate their benefit to populations and to the environment. Once governments and private sector realize the financial and economic returns to wastewater reuse are real, we can surely expect faster progress to achieving the global target.

 

Resources:

"Economic Valuation of Wastewater the Cost of Action and the Cost of No Action" (link to access PDF)

"An Integrated Approach to Evaluate Benefits and Costs of Wastewater and Solid Waste Management to Improve the Living Environment: The Citarum River in West Java, Indonesia" (PDF)

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