Module 8: Water and Sanitation for Future Challenges

The climate is changing and whether this is man-made or natural it will affect water and sanitation (see also climate change). Some areas will experience warmer and drier climate and some a wetter one. Changing climate will cause stress both for water and sanitation and also affect existing infrastructure (floods, higher rain intensity, etc.). The mineral phosphorus reserves of the world are running out (see also peak phosphorus). It is debated how long this will take, but it is likely that, due to limited resources, we will see a large price increase on phosphorus fertiliser in the coming decades. One solution to the phosphorus challenge is to recycle phosphorus that already is in different kind of biological material (see also advanced nutrient recovery). Human excreta can become the largest source of organic based fertiliser in the future and we must start to plan for that today. The module will give an overview of a changing climate and its effect on water and sanitary systems. The students will identify measures to make water and sanitation infrastructure more resilient so that it can better withstand the challenges of a changing climate. The module will also give a short overview of why recycling of phosphorus and other resources in human excreta is important (see also reuse of urine and faeces in agriculture). What type of technologies can we use if we want to recycle phosphorus from human excreta? What are some of the main challenges regarding the use of these technologies?

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