The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI), have held a validation workshop on Baseline Studies on “Achieving Wider Uptake of Water-Smart Solutions” (WIDER UPTAKE) project in Ghana.
The workshop, which was formally opened by Dr Wilhelmina Quaye, the Director of CSIR STEPRI, was attended by 30 participants drawn from the academia, industry and the research community.
The overall objective of the WIDER UPTAKE is to facilitate industrial symbiosis by co-development of a roadmap towards wider uptake of Water-Smart Solutions for Wastewater and Resource recovery.
The European Union Commission, under the, “Building a water-smart economy and society” and its Horizon 2020 Programme, has funded an innovation action project that is being implemented by a consortium of research and water utility organisations across Europe and Africa.
The consortium of 18 organisations is being coordinated by SINTEF of Norway and will run from 2020 to 2023.
In Ghana, the project partners are the CSIR STEPRI, Water Research Institute, the Institute of Industrial Research and Sewage Systems Ghana Limited.
WIDER UPTAKE is built around a set of innovative circular economy solutions co-developed by water utilities and private businesses from industry sectors with high water consumption, high use of material resources and energy – agriculture industry, building and manufacturing materials industry and energy supply.
The purpose of the workshop was to present findings of baseline studies on the present state of wastewater usage for urban agriculture in Accra.
Dr Quaye said: “We are providing Water-Smart Innovative Solutions to the challenge of health risks associated with the use of untreated wastewater for production of vegetables, sanitation challenges with improper disposal of liquid waste, the negative effect on our soils and generation of green jobs from industry players”.
“I must say we are enthused about the project and look forward to a successful implementation of WIDER UPTAKE.”
She reiterated the mandate of CSIR-STEPRI, to conduct research to provide knowledge-based information and research evidence and contribute to the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes for socioeconomic development of Ghana and beyond.
Dr George Owusu Essegbey, Chief Executive Officer, CSIR-Technology Development and Transfer Center (TDTC), who chaired the function, reiterated that observation was an important means of data collection.
Dr Gordon Akon-Yamga, Research Scientist, CSIR-STEPRI, said the objective of the Ghana Demonstration Case was to develop and demonstrate a value chain for the use of treated wastewater for urban agriculture and promotion of biochar (charcoal that is produced by pyrolysis of biomass in the absence of oxygen) usage as substitute for wood-based fuel among SMEs, which could reduce deforestation through reduction in dependence on wood-based fuel.
He said as part of preparations towards the implementation of the demonstration case in Ghana, baseline studies were conducted to ascertain the present state of wastewater usage for urban agriculture in Accra – the characteristics of such wastewater, the crops, and the soil irrigated with wastewater.
Dr. Akon-Yamga said similarly, a baseline was conducted to assess the socioeconomic status of urban farmers using wastewater for irrigation in Accra.
He noted that two other baselines were also conducted; one to ascertain usage of wood-based fuel among SMEs in Accra and the characteristics of feedstock for biochar making and the laboratory produced biochar.