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The United Nations World Water Development Report, 2017: Wastewater: the untapped resource
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The 2017 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR), the fourth in a series of annual, theme-oriented reports, addresses an often overlooked issue that is critical to water resources management and the provision of basic water-related services: wastewater.
Wastewater is not merely a water management issue – it affects the environment and all living beings, and can have direct impacts on economies, both mature and emerging. Furthermore, wastewater flows contain a number of useful materials, such as nutrients, metals and organic material that, much like the water itself, can be extracted and used to for other productive purposes. As such, wastewater constitutes a valuable resource that, if sustainably managed, is set to become a central pillar of the circular economy. The upside to improving the way we manage wastewater is huge, with potential co-benefits to societies and the environment.