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Creating a Circular Water Economy: Insights from Circular Economist Harald Friedl

Water scarcity remains one of the most pressing challenges of our time, affecting millions worldwide. In a recent article by Circular Economist Harald Friedl, titled "Water scarcity: Not a drop to lose," he highlights the critical need for a shift towards circular water management to address this crisis.


Friedl underscores the urgency of the situation, noting alarming statistics such as 700 million people lacking access to clean water and projections indicating that half of the world's population could face water scarcity by 2025. He emphasises the devastating consequences of water scarcity, including the inability to meet basic needs like drinking, sanitation, and agriculture, leading to economic decline.


To combat water scarcity and create a more sustainable water economy, Friedl presents five key strategies:


Rainwater Harvesting: Collecting and storing rainwater for various non-potable uses, such as irrigation and toilet flushing, reduces reliance on freshwater sources.


Water Recycling: Reusing water in industrial processes, agriculture, and household secondary water systems minimises the demand for fresh water.


Nutrient Recovery: Proper wastewater treatment allows for the recovery of valuable nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, which can be reused in agriculture, reducing the need for new fertilisers.


Efficient Water Use: Implementing advanced technologies and practices to enhance water efficiency in agriculture, industry, and households, coupled with efforts to reduce water leakage in distribution systems, conserves water resources.


Integrated Water Management: Adopting a holistic, circular approach to water management that considers the entire water cycle, from source to sea, is essential. This approach involves engaging all stakeholders and establishing safe water infrastructure.


Friedl reminds us that we are all "resource stewards" responsible for safeguarding our water resources for future generations. By implementing these strategies and embracing a circular water economy, we can work towards mitigating water scarcity and building a more sustainable future for all.


As we reflect on these insights on World Water Day and beyond, let us commit to taking meaningful action towards achieving a more equitable and resilient water future.



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