Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations / German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste / Technical University Dresden / United Nations University - Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources

Science faces practice: benefits and risks of wastewater use

Sunday 27 August | 09.00-10.30 | Room: FH 202

Achieving SDG 6.3 (‘by 2030 […] halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally’) needs substantial input from the research community. Wastewater can be a useful asset for the sustainable management of resources. It contains both water and nutrients that are key for food production. Particularly in water-scarce areas these practices are used regularly. However, safety standards to protect farmers and consumers from health hazards need to be in place. By designing low-cost, easy-to-operate wastewater treatment systems, wastewater can be used to its fullest potential while safeguarding human and environmental health. But communities of practice of wastewater treatment specialists and irrigation experts are only slowly coming together.

This seminar intends to catalyse this conversation by highlighting the newest scientific findings in the benefits (increased yields) and risks (spread of antibiotic resistant genes and bacteria) of the safe use of wastewater in agriculture. We consider this nexus solution to be a significant contribution towards SDG 6.3.


Chair and moderator: Reza Ardakanian, Director UNU-FLORES

9:00 Key Note: Interfaces of urban waters and on pathways of compounds (nutrients and micropollutants) Peter Krebs, TUD

9:15 Panel discussion

  • German Technical Wastewater Reuse Standard and Skilled Staff Training
    Rüdiger Heidebrecht, DWA
  • Reusing treated wastewater to make agriculture more resilient to climate change impacts
    Ruhiza Boroto , FAO
  • Biological treatment systems
    Tamara Avellán, UNU-FLORES
  • Policy and institutional aspects of wastewater management
    Manzoor Qadir, UNU-INWEH

9:45 World Café  addressing 5 questions on each topic of the presenters (2 x 20 min discussion)

10:25 Wrap-up by Reza Ardakanian

10:30 Close of session