IWA – KWR Collaboratory on Resource Recovery

The quest for a circular economy is becoming an increasingly important underlying principle in government policy. Resource recovery in the water cycle has a contribution to make: the recovery and useful application of resources, energy and, last but not least, water itself.


The overarching purpose of the project is the identification, development and scaling-up of resource recovery methods, with the ultimate goal of demonstrating and promoting their implementation on a practical scale. IWA and KWR Water Research Institute play complementary roles as, respectively, the international organisation for water professionals (IWA) and the knowledge enterprise in the water cycle (KWR). The Collaboratory constitutes a partnership model in which both organisations jointly develop activities in the field of resource recovery. For IWA, a central role is played by the Cluster on Resource Recovery, which is chaired by Prof. W. Verstraete, Ghent University. KWR, for its part, has a Resource Recovery research programme with its own programme board, which is also chaired by Prof. W. Verstraete.


IWA and KWR work on the following outcomes in the Collaboratory:
• A state-of-the-art report on resource recovery practices in the water cycle, including an overview of the technical possibilities, economic perspectives, possible barriers and future developments.
• A ‘Learning from Best Practices’ web-based tool, in which successful practical cases are explained interactively.
• Strong international profiling and extension of networks in the field of resource recovery.


The website, highlighting best practices in the field of Resource Recovery, was presented during the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition, held in Lisbon in September 2014. A variety of channels are being tapped in the effort to draw international attention to resource recovery. An international contest for best practices in the field of has been established in the form of the IWA-KWR Award for ‘Best Practices on Resource Recovery from Water’. The first award was won by water cycle partners for the valorisation and high-value application of calcite pellets. The pellets are generated as a result of the drinking water softening process. Jury chair Willy Verstraete presented the award during the first IWA Resource Recovery Conference in Ghent. KWR is also working closely, via ARREAU – an initiative within the framework of the European Innovation Partnership on Water (EIP-W) – with, among others, a number of Dutch partners (Energy & Raw Material Factory of the Dutch waterboards, Reststoffenunie (now AquaMinerals), BWA, Waterstromen, Brightwork, Bioclear, Nijhuis Water, Attero, IcoPal and Planty Pot BV. Among the partnership’s outcomes is an overview of the current practical examples of resource recovery in the water cycle.