Capitalising on circular economy principles to tackle challenges in the water sector and beyond

Capitalising on circular economy principles to tackle challenges in the water sector and beyond
Kramer, Annika and Lisa Kreutzmann 2021: Capitalising on circular economy principles to tackle challenges in the water sector and beyond. Bern, Switzerland: SDC Trend Observatory on Water.

Globally, around 80 percent of wastewater flows back into the environment without being treated or reused. This represents not only a major threat to ecosystems, but also a lost opportunity in reusing valuable resources (water, materials and energy) contained in these effluents.

While reusing water and resources is not new to the water sector, the circular economy approach may add value through its integrated systems perspective. Moreover, digitalisation and innovation provide increasing opportunities for implementing circular approaches in the water sector. A circular economy approach should therefore be considered in designing water projects and systems in the future. This Trend Sheet outlines opportunities for closing water and sanitation resource loops in and across systems at different levels and points out common challenges for implementation. It introduces current trends in the global transition towards a circular economy and provides examples of innovative cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder circular economy approaches and technologies.

An online version is available here on the Trend Observatory on Water website.