SNAPP TEAM:Water Sanitation and Nature
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 the sanitation sufficient to separate them from their biological waste. For another 2.1 billion, wastewater drains directly into surface waters. Despite improvements over past decades, unsafe fecal waste and wastewater management 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 added to wastewater treatment systems to support the removal of wastewater contaminants such as bacteria, heavy metals, and high nutrients.

 

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

This team is made possible in part by the generous support and engagement of the Bridge Collaborative, which unites 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: Food and Freshwater
Goals
  • 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.

Sewage pollution, declining ecosystem health, and cross-sector collaboration

Sewage pollution hotspots threaten biodiversity and ecosystem health in global hotspots (mapped in this paper) across terrestrial, aquatic, and marine systems. Mitigating sewage pollution must be prioritized by the conservation and public health sectors.

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