The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is spearheading a four-year partnership project, which seeks to achieve a wider uptake of water-smart solutions such as treatment, recycling and reuse of resources recovered from wastewater.
To achieve this objective and ensure sustainability, the Council on Friday engaged key stakeholders, at a workshop in Accra, to provide them with information on the project so they could contribute ideas, policies and strategies towards achieving a successful outcome.
The participants were from key institutions including the Energy Commission, Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, farmer associations, and the CSIR.
Dr Wilhemina Quaye, the Director, CSIR–Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), welcoming participants, said the use of untreated streams by urban vegetable and other small scale farmers posed a great health threat to consumers, as the unwholesome water contained harmful pathogens leading to various health implications.
She said effective collaboration with stakeholders was, therefore, crucial to the success of the project.
The country’s progress towards achieving the water-related UN Sustainable Development Goals was being challenged by barriers including water scarcity, population growth, and pollution of those resources, she said.
Dr Quaye said in spite of the urgent need to secure natural resources, the implementation of water-smart solutions was limited due the technological, organisational, regulatory, social and economic barriers.
The project would facilitate industrial cooperation as a means to increasing resource efficiency, limit carbon emissions, and develop sustainable businesses based on water-smart solutions.
Titled: “Achieving Wider Uptake of Water-Smart Solutions,” (Wider Uptake), the project was funded by the European Union Commission, under its Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme.
It is currently being implemented by a consortium of 18 organisations across Europe and in Ghana, and coordinated by SINTEF of Norway from 2020 to 2023.
Dr Quaye said it was built around a set of innovative circular economic solutions co-developed by water utilities and private businesses from industry sectors with high water consumption, high use of material resources and energy such as the agriculture industry, the building and manufacturing materials industry and energy supply.
She encouraged the participants to help in the co-development of a roadmap towards the achievement of the project objectives.
Dr Gordon Akon-Yamga, a Research Scientist with the CSIR-STEPRI, said in Ghana, the CSIR, represented by STEPRI, the Water Research Institute, and the Institute of Industrial Research, in collaboration with the Sewerage Systems Ghana Limited, were the project partners.
He said among the innovative solutions for wastewater reuse, nutrient recycling and energy recovery, the Sewerage Systems Ghana Limited had signed a public-private partnership management contract with the Ministry of Local Government to operate the Mudor waste treatment Plant in Accra.
This would facilitate the utilisation of treated wastewater for urban agriculture and the production of biochar from treated sludge to substitute wood fuel and reduce emissions and deforestation.
The action would promote the adoption of biochar for burning in the textile and chemical industries in Ghana and also the use of treated wastewater for urban agriculture.
The new paradigm would be one of symbiotic solutions with the recycling of resources between sectors in a CE-value chain, Dr Akon-Yamga said, and encourage all project partners and stakeholders to work hard to achieve the objectives.
He said it had great prospects and assured stakeholders that an organised structure would be established for sustained collaboration and communication to expand its benefits and opportunities.
Dr Ebenezer Ansa, the Principal Research Scientist and a Director of CSIR Animal Research Institute, assured stakeholders of the Councils constant monitoring and control of the quality of those biomass products to ensure the health and safety of the citizenry.