Adventures at World Water Week 2019

Updated: Feb 13

We gathered, all 4004 of us, at the focal point for global water issues- the Stockholm World Water Week. Finding myself amongst 1196 organizations I sought to bring household greywater reuse on the table.

My first point of action was to ask for the organization's definition of sanitation. Without fail, the various definitions boiled down to this: separation of human from excreta. Simply put, what goes into the toilet which is referred to as black water. It should come as no surprise given that all sanitation related interventions are related to toilet use.

And there was the gap, who is dealing with greywater? One of the major reasons for this is because greywater does not contain life threatening bacteria compared to what you find in fecal matter. However, during a conversation, a WHO representative alluded to the fact that although greywater itself is not harmful, a malaria outbreak for example could be traced back to pooling of greywater where mosquito breed. She confirms that greywater has been "left out".

A key takeaway from the conference was during a seminar which stated that; despite all the water interventions over the past few years, (child) nutrition has not improved. Conveners at this session were sharing the sentiments of some 30 other organisations.

One of the interventions suggested is promoting household kitchen gardens like a project in Pakistan which involved the inception of 3000 kitchen gardens.

Regardless of the fact that greywater is not a "hot topic" the benefit of having it as alternative source was not disputed. Representative from the rural water sector said that considering how much investment is required to provide water of good quality, it is not financially sound for water to only be used once. In addition, she stated that people already use greywater for plants, this may not be done safely- possibly creating another problem

Consider the worldwide WASH campaign which has been adopted by virtually everyone in the water sector. WASH is -Water,Sanitation and Hygiene, greywater is a form of waste water. Is it not time for us to transform to WASH(ED)?

#waterreuse #watermanagement #greywater #sustainability #foodsecurity #waterconservation #ruralAfrica #cleantech

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