SNAPP TEAM:Water Sanitation and Nature
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How can nature-based interventions be used to help billions of people access sanitation and higher quality water?

There are 2.4 billion people living without sufficient sanitation to separate them from their biological waste. For another 2.1 billion, wastewater drains directly into surface waters. Despite improvements over past decades, unsafe management of fecal waste and wastewater still presents a major risk to public health and the environment. Natural solutions including constructed and natural wetlands, wastewater treatment ponds, and green roofs can be part of wastewater treatment systems to support the removal of wastewater contaminants such as bacteria, heavy metals and high levels of nutrients.


OUR APPROACH: This working group is developing an evidence-based guidance document which assesses both the technical feasibility and practicality of placing effective nature-based sanitation solutions in diverse local and cultural contexts. Their aim is to provide information which can inform investment and resource use in operation and maintenance of sanitation services which serves both human and ecosystem health.

This team is made possible in part by the generous support and engagement of the Bridge Collaborative, uniting experts in health, development and the environment to create the evidence and opportunity to solve big problems for people and the world we share.

Team Status: COMPLETED
Team Critical Challenge:
Key Products

This evidence database from SNAPP’s Water Sanitation and Nature working group includes information from more than 350 case studies published in the scientific literature. Empirical case studies were used to generate a database which includes information such as influent/effluent wastewater characteristics, system surface area, ecosystem services provided, and the quality of treated effluent

Development of a decision-support system to select nature-based solutions for domestic wastewater treatment

Nature-based solutions are increasingly used in domestic wastewater treatment, because of their potential to remove contaminants and pathogens from water (e.g., stormwater, river water, wastewater) as well as their provided co-benefits, such as mitigation of the heat island effect or enhanced biodiversity. This article outlines a decision-support system created by SNAPP’s Water Sanitation and Nature working group to support this transition.

Nature Based Solutions for Wastewater Treatment

This book aim published by the International Water Alliance provides an initial understanding of the design parameters, removal efficiencies, costs, co-benefits for both people and nature and trade-offs for consideration in their local context.

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Katharine Cross
Nathan Karres
The Nature Conservancy
Rob McDonald
The Nature Conservancy
Anacleto Rizzo
Andrews Jacob
Consortium for DEWATS Dissemination Society
Bernhard Pucher
BOKU University
Darja Istenič
University of Ljubljana
Fabio Masi
Florent Chazarenc
Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies pour l'environnement et l'agriculture (IRSTEA)
Ganapathy Ganeshan
Consortium for DEWATS Dissemination Society
Günter Langergraber
BOKU University
Joaquim Comas
Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA)
Justin Abbott
Arup Group
Katharina Tondera
Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies pour l'environnement et l'agriculture (IRSTEA)
Laura Castanares
Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA)
Lisa Andrews
LMA Water Consulting
Lluis Corominas
Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA)
Natasa Atanasova
University of Ljubljana
Robert Gearheart
Humboldt State University
Robert K Bastian
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Rohini Pradeep
Consortium for DEWATS Dissemination Society
Rose Kaggwa
National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda
Sara Mason
Bridge Collaborative
Stefan Reuter
Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA)
Stephanie Wear
The Nature Conservancy
Tjaša Griessler Bulc
University of Ljubljana
Vicenç Acuña
Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA)
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