World Water Day 2021: Valuing Water

A team of more than 20 KWR colleagues signed up to join the World Water Run from 16-22 of March. The World Water Run is organised every year to pay attention to World Water Day. This year’s theme is Valuing Water. KWR generates knowledge to enable the water sector to operate water-wisely in our urbanised society. We asked two of our KWR experts who joined the run why and how they value water.

“Think of wastewater as a source”

Tavishi Guleria is an Environmental Engineer and joined KWR in September 2020 as a Scientific Researcher in the Innovation and Valorisation team. At KWR, she is working on the ULTIMATE project; a Horizon2020 project focused on water smart industrial symbiosis – a form of Circular Economy looking at the reuse of waste between industries.

Tavishi Guleria

Tavishi Guleria

Tavishi Guleria: “It is a fact that 80 per cent of wastewater flows back into the ecosystem, without being treated or reused. This puts an enormous burden on the environment. Moreover, if we think of wastewater as a source, there is immense potential to recover valuable resources and create a sustainable value chain.

“Valuing water starts with being more aware of where our water comes from and where our wastewater goes. By reusing water for example, we can close the loop between water demand and water disposal. This is the goal we are working towards in the ULTIMATE project by developing technologies for water smart industrial symbiosis.

We value water when we need it: when water related issues directly impact us. We also understand the value of water when we become more aware of others’ water-related challenges. However, as water is limited and with increasing challenges like climate change, it is becoming more important to value and manage water as a priority.

We can make valuing water a priority, by creating awareness, collaboration and more initiatives like World Water Day. Eventually, it is important to mobilize all stakeholders to work together and make valuing water a priority.”

“Drinking water is essential for the self-reliance of women and children”

Ron Jong is a broadly-oriented researcher in the field of (drinking) water treatment. His areas of expertise include conventional water treatment processes, such as aeration, rapid filtration and softening, and the removal of nitrate and fluor from water. Ron de Jong is also a specialist in finding low-cost solutions for water-quality problems in developing countries, and training local staff.

Ron Jong

Ron Jong

“More than 2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. This is the most serious public health threat on earth. With basic and applicable technology, training of staff and some financial help this can be avoided. Important is that the goal of consultants should not be economic benefits for themselves, the goal must be bringing better conditions of life to the people that really need this. Availability of drinking water at short distance is essential for the self-reliance of women and children. They spend less time on getting water from distant water sources and can use the saved time for education and self-exploring. This will help to generate a better place in society.

Personally, I’m advising – on behalf of KWR/VEI/Water for Life – four water companies in the Philippines on water quality, water treatment and training of staff. In this Covid pandemic, the crucial training of staff continues online. Every individual can contribute by adding a contribution to a reliable clean water fund, like Water for Life. This will help! Consultants should advise technologies that really can be operated and kept in operation by local society and staff, instead of high tech solutions that will run until the moment that first expensive and not-locally available components are broken. A system based on donation is not economically sustainable. To create local ownership, consumers should pay for their water.”