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: ONGOING
Team Critical Challenge:
  • Understand how, where, and when wastewater utilities and their regulators can implement nature-based sanitation solutions into wastewater treatment facilities while providing benefits to nature and supporting biodiversity.
  • Create interactive, publicly available guidance that consolidates information and scientific evidence from a variety of applied cases. The aim is to inspire and influence sanitation providers and regulators to design and integrate wastewater treatment facilities with ecosystems in mind in to benefit ecological and human health.
Key Products
Embedding nature-based solutions into circular economies

Five working groups are using COST Action to test using “a circular flow system that implements NBS for managing nutrients and resources within the urban biosphere.” They will work with professionals in urban water, resource recovery, and urban farming to better understand the socio-economic impacts of their work.

Facilitating nature-based solutions for urban water sanitation

This report includes guidelines for water districts to use nature-based methods for urban water sanitation, including when and where certain methods are appropriate, and their limitations.

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Katharine Cross
International Water Association
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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