Pio Wennubst: Wastewater management

Home Expert videos Pio Wennubst: Wastewater management

This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of alozano alozano 8 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #1513

    We have started to put videos from experts in all kinds of SDG working areas. These will pose urgent and important questions for us to think about.

    The first expert that we have interviewed is Pio Wennubs, an agro-economist with experience in development diplomacy based on extensive fieldwork in areas such as rural development, microfinance, and public health. In the video, he discusses wastewater management issues and the big debate about its investments. Wennubst questions how the financial sector is involved and if the need for investments in public good will be met.

    Watch the video here:

    Please feel free to discuss the matter below.


  • #1532
    Profile photo of SharmaineP

    Thank you for posting this video discussion by Mr. Wennubst. It is so informative with refreshing views. It is clear that he has in-depth experience of the private sector paradigm as well.

    I just had a quick refreshment of facts about water diplomacy.  It is wonderful to know that each area regarding the management of this resource, keeping all of us alive, is becoming as specialized, as it needs to be, in order to take the maximum benefit from it.  I would like to return later and post after having studied the material at the website mentioned below.

    Thanks again!

    What is Water Diplomacy?

    It is a theory and practice of implementing adaptive water management for complex water issues, developed at Tufts, MIT, and Harvard. The Water Diplomacy approach diagnoses water problems, identifies intervention points, and proposes sustainable solutions that are sensitive to diverse viewpoints and values, ambiguity and uncertainty as well as changing and competing needs.

    Why Water Diplomacy?

    Increasingly complex water problems require negotiated solutions. Water Diplomacy teaches the skills to transform a fixed quantity of water into a flexible and sustainably shared resource. Water Diplomacy shifts the discussion from “allocation of water” to “benefit from water resources” to open up new avenues for resolving water conflicts.

    Complex Problems Require Negotiated Solutions

    Water issues create contentious arguments over its availability, access and allocation for human needs, agricultural use, industrial development and ecosystem services. Science or policymaking alone is not sufficient. Sustainable solutions can only come from diplomacy that takes science, policy, and politics into account.

    A Network of Water Professionals

    We are taking efforts to advance and implement the evolving theory and practice of water diplomacy through our interrelated and linked initiatives.


    1. https://waterdiplomacy.org/
    • #1538
      Profile photo of Dagny

      The same H2O has been on earth for billions of years. A book, ” Blue Covenant The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the right to water” A good book to read.

      The economics of clean water is involved but needs to be considered. Nature cleans water through rain by using the suns energy. Man cleans water using man made energy. Different systems are needed for different situations and use different amounts of energy. The economics depends on getting more out of a situation than you put into it to be efficient and worth while. Private investors want a profit on an investment. Public investment forces taxes to pay for inefficient systems. Science and technology can improve efficiency to a point but the problem becomes any savings is used to increase usage.

      The earth has lots of land but much of it is not economical to live on. It lacks natural resources that make it economical to support life. If lots of man made energy is needed to make clean water some resources has to pay for that energy. If a population does not produce more products or services to pay for what they consume it is doomed to fail.

      There are some technologies that reduce waste water energy use such as wet lands or cleaning water for irrigation not domestic use. There are solar machines but all systems need maintenance and educated people to run them. There is also the problem with what to do with the waste cleaned out of the water which can be very toxic.

      The problem is not simple and can not be sustained by throwing money at it.

      Not a very optimistic opinion for more development.

      Thanks for asking

  • #1537
    Profile photo of Christy Read
    Christy Read

    Thanks for your input, Sharmaine, in clarifying Waterdiplomacy.
    What immediately sprung to mind for me was the Mekong river. Saw a program not so long ago about the dams being built there by some countries, which upsets others.

  • #1553
    Profile photo of Annesha Kar Gupta
    Annesha Kar Gupta

    Wastewater management is a part of water waste management. If we look historically, we would be able to find that one of the reasons of extinction of dinosurous was lack of waste management which has a sound contribution in green-house gas emission.

    According the calculation UN, by 2025 2 billion people will live in absolute water crisis & 2/3 of our world population will live in water stress. This unequal access can promote poverty, unemployment, corruption, & structural discrimination. There are two main kinds of conflict, firstly soft or participatory or diplomatic; & secondly, hard or judicial including fact-finding, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, & conciliation; economic; political; highly controlled & checked military sanctions & interventions.

    There are not only restricted to Sewage treatment, Industrial wastewater treatment, Agricultural wastewater treatment, Leachate treatment plants, but also it includes agricultural non-point pollutants, like nutrients, sediments, animal waste, slat, & pesticide; aquatic life sewage, silvicultural or forestry sewage, marinas or recreational boating pollution, channelization & channel modification such as dam, strambank, shoreline erosion-these are all important aspects of creation waste.

    Now, wastewater treatment deals with biological, chemical, physical unit of purifying process of large volume of sewage which is not sufficient enough. Firstly, what about pollution generating from ship waste-oil? If we can fly air-craft with solar energy, then can’t we run solar ships free from oil? Secondly, in many developing countries, people throw garbage at river or sea. If one goes to Port-Blair, Andaman, India, they will find a dirty dock, but on the other hand, when one go to Nil Island, Andaman, India, they will find pure water at the dock with less garbage & less waste ship-oil. This happens for less ship docks in Nil Island then Port-Blair. So, we need here two things to establish public awareness through education, & preventing measure of ship waste-oil. Thirdly, people in developing countries like India take bath in river or do immolation of idols which create high level pollution. This need to be stopped by strict legal probation & raising public awareness. Fourthly, every country must provide aid in this wastewater treatment. Unless people pay, they generally don’t understand the value. Underdeveloped countries may pay less, but contribution must be necessary. Fifthly, Government has limited sources to earn, but it has to spend for the development of its own society & international aids. So, there must be freedom of seeking information about the money has been used. The country receiving aid must always remember that it’s someone else’s money which they are using. So, they must act fairly & without any adopting any kind of corruptive measure. Sixthly, from the report of European Union, we can find that EU reduced 30% journeys & 2000m3 to 100m3 drinking water consumption. Even though it is a great achievement, water is essential criteria for right to live which one of the constitutional foundation of many countries. No-one can be compelled to reduce drinking water consumption because that will be ultra vires then. Ultra-vires laws cannot be sustained.

    Finally, I want to share one of my critical thinking here. Water can be treated by natural purification. From water vapor it rains, rain water goes into soil & feels the chambers made empty by humans. If we heat the water, then we will get water vapor. Once we get the vapor separated from the waste, that vapor will be absorbed in our climate which increases the level of rain. This will be the cheapest & easiest process of purification. Increasing rain will give us a cool weather. If in this way naturally water can be purified, then why couldn’t we set plant to purify water in this way?

    • #1555
      Profile photo of Dagny

      The whole environmental system of diversity is dependent on different and changing weather. If you increase rain you wipe out many species. Increases in one kind of species wipes out other species. If a country can not offer equal trade for its supplies it is outside its ability to survive. Money is only a method of keeping track of trade. Just because people make children does not mean those children can survive. Survival takes planning and cognitive ability to meet the challenge of nature.

      Water is a part of nature which needs energy to be cleaned. Energy is finite and for man to manipulate it we must use caution as to all the effects it causes.

  • #1585
    Profile photo of alozano

    I suggest we must move forward to bonding regulations among parties implied. Regulation of common goods is a complex issue within countries, of course it is way harder to regulate among countries. I understand that legally speaking, bonding regulations amoung parties implies autonomy issues… How can we break apart national boundaries in respect to international -or global- goods?

    • #1586
      Profile photo of Dagny

      “How can we break apart national boundaries in respect to international -or global- goods?”

      Hold countries responsible for their own survival. You can not have global good when individual countries do not take care of their own needs.

  • #1587
    Profile photo of alozano

    Absolutetly agree! We must strenghten first national capabilities on that respect (i.e. counties taking responsability). You are right.

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