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05 June 2019

Co-Composting

Application level

City

Household

Neighborhood

Management level

Household

Public

Shared

Inputs

Organics Sludge

Outputs

Compost
Author/Compiled by
Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology)
Bhushan Tuladhar (Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO))
Dorothee Spuhler (seecon international gmbh)
Executive Summary

Co-composting is the controlled aerobic degradation of organics, using more than one feedstock (faecal sludge and organic solid waste). Faecal sludge has a high moisture and nitrogen content, while biodegradable solid waste is high in organic carbon and has good bulking properties (i.e., it allows air to flow and circulate). By combining the two, the benefits of each can be used to optimize the process and the product.

Advantages
Relatively straightforward to set up and maintain with appropriate training
Provides a valuable resource that can improve local agriculture and food production
A high removal of helminth eggs is possible (< 1 viable egg/g TS)
Can be built and repaired with locally available materials
Low capital and operating costs
No electrical energy required
Disadvantages
Requires a large land area (that is well located)
Long storage times
Requires expert design and operation by skilled personnel
Labour intensive
Compost is too bulky to be economically transported over long distances
In Out

Faecal Sludge, Organic Solid Waste

Compost/Biosolids

Factsheet Block Title
Introduction
Factsheet Block Body

There are two types of co-composting designs: open and in-vessel. In open composting, the mixed material (sludge and solid waste) is piled into long heaps called windrows and left to decompose. Windrow piles are periodically turned to provide oxygen and ensure that all parts of the pile are subjected to the same heat treatment. In-vessel composting requires controlled moisture and air supply, as well as mechanical mixing. Therefore, it is not generally appropriate for decentralised facilities.

Although the composting process seems like a simple, passive technology, a well-working facility requires careful planning and design to avoid failure.

Schematic of the Co-compost. Source: TILLEY et al. (2014)
Schematic of the Co-compost. Source: TILLEY et al. (2014)
Factsheet Block Title
Design Considerations
Factsheet Block Body

The facility should be located close to the sources of organic waste and faecal sludge to minimize transport costs, but still at a distance away from homes and businesses to minimize nuisances. Depending on the climate and available space, the facility may be covered to prevent excess evaporation and/or provide protection from rain and wind. For dewatered sludge, a ratio of 1:2 to 1:3 of sludge to solid waste should be used. Liquid sludge should be used at a ratio of 1:5 to 1:10 of sludge to solid waste

Windrow piles should be at least 1 m high and insulated with compost or soil to promote an even distribution of heat inside the pile.

Factsheet Block Title
Health Aspects/Acceptance
Factsheet Block Body

Maintaining the temperature in the pile between 55 and 60°C can reduce the pathogen load in sludge to a level safe to touch and work with. Although the finished compost can be safely handled, care should be taken when dealing with the sludge, regardless of the previous treatment. If the material is found to be dusty, workers should wear protective clothing and use appropriate respiratory equipment. Proper ventilation and dust control are important.

Factsheet Block Title
Operation & Maintenance
Factsheet Block Body

The mixture must be carefully designed so that it has the proper C:N ratio, moisture and oxygen content. If facilities exist, it would be useful to monitor helminth egg inactivation as a proxy measure of sterilization. 

A well-trained staff is necessary for the operation and maintenance of the facility. Maintenance staff must carefully monitor the quality of the input material, and keep track of the inflows, outflows, turning schedules, and maturing times to ensure a high quality product. Forced aeration systems must be carefully controlled and monitored.

Turning must be periodically done with either a front-end loader or by hand. Robust grinders for shredding large pieces of solid waste (i.e., small branches and coconut shells) and pile turners help to optimize the process, reduce manual labour, and ensure a more homogenous end product.

Applicability

A co-composting facility is only appropriate when there is an available source of well-sorted biodegradable solid waste. Solid waste containing plastics and garbage must first be sorted. When carefully done, co-composting can produce a clean, pleasant, beneficial soil conditioner. 

Since moisture plays an important role in the composting process, covered facilities are especially recommended where there is heavy rainfall. 

Apart from technical considerations, composting only makes sense if there is a demand for the product (from paying customers). In order to find buyers, a consistent and good quality compost has to be produced; this depends on good initial sorting and a well-controlled thermophilic process.

Library References

Composting and Its Applicability in Developing Countries

This informal paper argues that composting should be a more widespread practice, especially in developing countries. It reviews past composting experiences and provides an outline for municipal managers to use when evaluating composting programs within an integrated municipal waste management system.

HOORNWEG, D. THOMAS, L. OTTEN, L. (2000): Composting and Its Applicability in Developing Countries. (= Urban Waste Management Working Paper Series , 8 ). Washington, D.C.: The World Bank URL [Accessed: 05.06.2019]

Helminth Eggs Inactivation Efficiency by Faecal Sludge Dewatering and Co-Composting in Tropical Climates

This study investigates helminth eggs removal and inactivation efficiency in a treatment process combining faecal sludge (FS) dewatering and subsequent co-composting with organic solid waste as a function of windrow turning frequency.

KONE, D. ; COFIE, O. ; ZURBRUEGG, C. ; GALLIZZI, K. ; MOSER, D. ; DRESCHER, S. ; STRAUSS, M. (2007): Helminth Eggs Inactivation Efficiency by Faecal Sludge Dewatering and Co-Composting in Tropical Climates. In: Water Research: Volume 41 , 4397-4402.

Integrated Resource Recovery. The Co-Composting of Domestic Solid and Human Wastes

This report a valuable reference for decision makers and planners on co-composting when addressing waste management and resource recovery issues in the developing countries.

OBENG, L. A. WRIGHT, F. W. (1987): Integrated Resource Recovery. The Co-Composting of Domestic Solid and Human Wastes. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank and UNDP URL [Accessed: 21.07.2014]

Marketing Compost. A Guide for Compost Producers in Low and Middle-Income Countries

This guide describes a marketing approach to composting, and is intended to help compost producers run more viable initiatives by unlocking the value of their product. The handbook does not cover everything there is to know about marketing, but starts with the basics and introduces the key principles and techniques. These include understanding the ‘marketing environment’, identifying appropriate target customer groups, and developing and promoting products to suit the market.

ROUSE ROTHENBERGER, S. ZURBRUEGG, C. (2008): Marketing Compost. A Guide for Compost Producers in Low and Middle-Income Countries. Duebendorf: Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries (SANDEC), Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science (EAWAG) URL [Accessed: 27.05.2019]

Faecal Sludge Management

This is the first book to compile the current state of knowledge on faecal sludge management. It addresses the organization of the entire faecal sludge management service chain, from the collection and transport of sludge, to the current state of knowledge of treatment options, and the final end use or disposal of treated sludge. It presents an integrated approach that brings together technology, management, and planning, based on Sandec’s 20 years of experience in the field. It also discusses important factors to consider when evaluating and upscaling new treatment technology options. The book is designed for undergraduate and graduate students, engineers, and practitioners in the field who have some basic knowledge of environmental and/or wastewater engineering.

STRANDE, L. ; RONTELTAP, M. ; BRDJANOVIC, D. (2014): Faecal Sludge Management. Systems Approach for Implementation and Operation. London: IWA Publishing URL [Accessed: 16.07.2014]

Co-composting of Faecal Sludge and Municipal Organic Waste

The document gives an overview on the combined composting of (faecal) sludges and organic solid waste based on a pilot project in Kumasi, Ghana. Results of the investigation should help the city’s waste management department to develop its biosolids management strategy and enable the project team to develop guidelines for planners and engineers on the option of co-composting.

STRAUSS, M. DRESCHER, S. ZURBRUEGG, C. MONTANGERO, A. OLUFUNKE, C. DRECHSEL, P. (2003): Co-composting of Faecal Sludge and Municipal Organic Waste. Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science (EAWAG), Department of Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries (SANDEC) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI) URL [Accessed: 05.06.2019]

This module introduces the importance of market-based RRR solutions. At the end of this module you have identified key challenges in your local sanitation and waste management system and a RRR-related business idea.

Cover image Module  1

This module sheds light on the importance of studying the business environment and its components like waste supply, market demand, competition and the institutional framework. At the end of this module you have gained insights to evaluating the potential of your business idea.

Cover image Module  2

This module shows how a business idea can be turned into a business model while putting a specific focus on understanding the customer and designing products that meet their needs. At the end of this module you will have developed a business model and positioned your offer in the market.

Cover image Module  3

This module focusses on planning the operations of a RRR related business. During this part RRR technologies will be introduced for different waste streams and tools for planning the production process. At the end of this module you will have blueprinted your production process and the required technology and production inputs.

Cover image Module  4

This module covers key aspects of financial planning and analysis. At the end of this module you will have forecasted your profits, cash flows, required investment and evaluated the financial viability of your business model.

Cover image Module  5

This module enables you to set objectives and plan activities for the launch of your RRR business and identify potential financing sources. At the end of this module you will have developed an action plan for launch and identified appropriate financing sources.

Cover image Module  6

Week 1: Identify challenges in your local sanitation & waste management

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Further Readings

SDG 6 along the water and nutrient cycles

This AGUASAN publication illustrates how the water and nutrient cycles can be used as a tool for creating a common understanding of a water and sanitation system and aligning it with SDG 6.

BROGAN, J., ERLMANN, T., MUELLER, K. and SOROKOVSKYI, V. (2017): SDG 6 along the water and nutrient cycles. Using the water and nutrient cycles as a tool for creating a common understanding of a water and sanitation system - including workshop material. Bern (Switzerland): AGUASAN and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019] PDF

Why shit matters [Video File]

TEDX TALKS (2019): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4yD0kz34jg [Accessed: 28.03.2019]

"3 billion people worldwide live in cities without sewers or wastewater treatment plant infrastructure. This forces them to dump their waste into open waters, contaminating the drinking water for others downstream. Imagine if we could harness nutrients in wastewater instead of harming human and environmental health. Christoph Lüthi sees a renewable, locally produced and growing resource where others see only human waste. Watch his talk to learn why shit matters! "

Week 2: Identify RRR products and business opportunities

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Further Readings

A public-private partnership linking wastewater treatment and aquaculture (Ghana) - Case Study

AMOAH, P., MUSPRATT, A., DRECHSEL, P. and OTOO, M. (2018): A public-private partnership linking wastewater treatment and aquaculture (Ghana) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section IV, Chapter 15, pp.617-630. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Briquettes from agro-waste (Kampala Jellitone Suppliers, Uganda) - Case Study

GEBREZGABHER, S. and MUSISI, A. (2018): Briquettes from agro-waste (Kampala Jellitone Suppliers, Uganda) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section II, Chapter 3, pp.41-51. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Cooperative model for financially sustainable municipal solid waste composting (NAWACOM, Kenya) - Case Study

OTOO, M., KARANJA, N., ODERO, J. and HOPE, L. (2018): Cooperative model for financially sustainable municipal solid waste composting (NAWACOM, Kenya) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section III, Chapter 3, pp.362-370. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Week 1: Analyse waste supply

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Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 2: Analyse market demand

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Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 3: Analyse your competition

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Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 4: Analyse the institutional environment

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Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 1: Meet the Business Model Canvas

Download Materials
Further Readings

A public-private partnership linking wastewater treatment and aquaculture (Ghana) - Case Study

AMOAH, P., MUSPRATT, A., DRECHSEL, P. and OTOO, M. (2018): A public-private partnership linking wastewater treatment and aquaculture (Ghana) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section IV, Chapter 15, pp.617-630. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Briquettes from agro-waste (Kampala Jellitone Suppliers, Uganda) - Case Study

GEBREZGABHER, S. and MUSISI, A. (2018): Briquettes from agro-waste (Kampala Jellitone Suppliers, Uganda) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section II, Chapter 3, pp.41-51. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Cooperative model for financially sustainable municipal solid waste composting (NAWACOM, Kenya) - Case Study

OTOO, M., KARANJA, N., ODERO, J. and HOPE, L. (2018): Cooperative model for financially sustainable municipal solid waste composting (NAWACOM, Kenya) - Case Study. In: Otoo, M. and Drechsel, P. (Eds.). Resource recovery from waste: business models for energy, nutrient and water reuse in low- and middle-income countries. Oxon (UK): Routledge - Earthscan. Section III, Chapter 3, pp.362-370. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019]

Week 1: Plan your production process

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Further Readings

Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies. 2nd Revised Edition

This compendium gives a systematic overview on different sanitation systems and technologies and describes a wide range of available low-cost sanitation technologies.

TILLEY, E. ULRICH, L. LUETHI, C. REYMOND, P. ZURBRUEGG, C. (2014): Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies. 2nd Revised Edition. Duebendorf, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) URL [Accessed: 28.07.2014] PDF

Week 2: Understand the treatment process

Further Readings

Treatment technologies for urban solid biowaste to create value products: a review with focus on low- and middle-income settings

LOHRI, C. R., DIENER, S., ZABALETA, I. MERTENAT, A. and ZURBRÜGG, C. (2017): Treatment technologies for urban solid biowaste to create value products: a review with focus on low- and middle-income settings. In: Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 81–130. URL [Accessed: 26.03.2019] PDF

Week 3A: Design technology systems for nutrient recovery

Further Readings

Co-composting of Solid Waste and Fecal Sludge for Nutrient and Organic Matter Recovery

COFIE, O., NIKIEMA, J., IMPRAIM, R., ADAMTEY, N., PAUL, J. and KONÉ, D. (2016): Co-composting of Solid Waste and Fecal Sludge for Nutrient and Organic Matter Recovery. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 3. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Decentralized composting in India

DRESCHER, S. and ZURBRÜGG, C. (2004): Decentralized composting in India. In: Harper et al. Sustainable Composting: Case Studies in Guidelines for Developing Countries. Loughborough (UK): Water Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC), Loughborough University, Part2: Case Studies, Chapter 3, pp.15-27. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019] PDF

Low Cost Composting Training Manual: techniques based on the UN-Habitat/Urban Harvest-CIP community based waste management initiatives

KARANJA, N., KWACH, H. and NJENGA, M. (2005): Low Cost Composting Training Manual: techniques based on the UN-Habitat/Urban Harvest-CIP community based waste management initiatives. Nairobi (Kenya): UN-Habitat. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 3B: Design technology systems for energy recovery

Further Readings

Briquette Businesses in Uganda. The potential for briquette enterprises to address the sustainability of the Ugandan biomass fuel market

FERGUSON, H. (2012): Briquette Businesses in Uganda. The potential for briquette enterprises to address the sustainability of the Ugandan biomass fuel market. London (UK): Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) International. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019] PDF

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 3C: Design technology systems for water recovery

Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Chapter 3 - Technology Selection

VEENSTRA, S., ALAERTS, G. and BIJLSMA, M. (1997): Chapter 3 - Technology Selection. In: Helmer, R. and Hespanhol, I. (Eds). Water Pollution Control - A Guide to the Use of Water Quality Management Principles. London (UK): World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume I. Policy and Regulatory Aspects

Volume I of the Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Greywater focuses on policy, regulation and institutional arrangements. Accordingly, its intended readership is made up of policy-makers and those with regulatory responsibilities. It provides guidance on policy formulation, harmonisation and mainstreaming, on regulatory mechanisms and on establishing institutional links between the various interested sectors and parties. It also presents a synthesis of the key issues from Volumes II, III, and IV and the index for all four volumes as well as a glossary of terms used in all four volumes is presented in Annex 1.

WHO (2006): Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume I. Policy and Regulatory Aspects. Geneva: World Health Organisation URL [Accessed: 10.04.2019]

Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume II. Wastewater Use in Agriculture

Volume II of the Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywater provides information on the assessment and management of risks associated with microbial hazards and toxic chemicals. It explains requirements to promote the safe use of wastewater in agriculture, including minimum procedures and specific health-based targets, and how those requirements are intended to be used. It also describes the approaches used in deriving the guidelines, including health-based targets, and includes a substantive revision of approaches to ensuring microbial safety.

WHO (2006): Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume II. Wastewater Use in Agriculture. Geneva: World Health Organisation URL [Accessed: 05.06.2019] PDF

Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume III. Wastewater and Excreta Use in Aquaculture

Volume III of the Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Greywater deals with wastewater and excreta use in aquaculture and describes the present state of knowledge regarding the impact of wastewater-fed aquaculture on the health of producers, product consumers and local communities. It assesses the associated health risks and provides an integrated preventive management framework.

WHO (2006): Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume III. Wastewater and Excreta Use in Aquaculture. Geneva: World Health Organisation URL [Accessed: 08.05.2019]

Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume IV. Excreta and Greywater Use in Agriculture

Volume IV of the Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Greywater recognizes the reuse potential of wastewater and excreta (including urine) in agriculture and describes the present state of knowledge as regards potential health risks associated with the reuse as well as measures to manage these health risks following a multi-barrier approach.

WHO (2006): Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume IV. Excreta and Greywater Use in Agriculture. Geneva: World Health Organisation (WHO) URL [Accessed: 09.05.2019] PDF

Week 3: Analyse financial viability

Further Readings

Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans

OTOO, M., DRECHSEL, P., DANSO, G., GEBREZGABHER, S., RAO, K. and MADURANGI G. (2016): Testing the implementation potential of resource recovery and reuse business models: from baseline surveys to feasibility studies and business plans. Colombo (Sri Lanka): International Water Management Institute (IWMI), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Resource Recovery and Reuse Series 10. URL [Accessed: 27.03.2019]

Week 1: Set objectives and plan activities for launch

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Further Readings

Week 2: Finance the launch

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Further Readings

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