Population growth, rapid urbanisation, more water intense consumption
patterns and climate change are intensifying the pressure on freshwater
resources. The increasing scarcity of water, combined with other factors
such as energy and fertilizers, is driving millions of farmers and other
entrepreneurs to make use of wastewater. Wastewater reuse is an
excellent example that naturally explains the importance of integrated
management of water, soil and waste, which we define as the Nexus
approach. The process begins in the waste sector, but the selection of
the correct management model can make it relevant and important to
the water and soil as well. Over 20 million hectares of land are currently
known to be irrigated with wastewater. This is interesting, but the
alarming fact is that a greater percentage of this practice is not based
on any scientific criterion that ensures the “safe use” of wastewater. In
order to address the technical, institutional, and policy challenges of
safe water reuse, developing countries and countries in transition need
clear institutional arrangements and more skilled human resources,
with a sound understanding of the opportunities and potential risks of
wastewater use.
In 2011 seven UN-Water members, partners and programmes led by
the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNWDPC)
joined efforts to address the capacity needs of countries with
regards to the Safe Use of Wastewater in Agriculture (SUWA). The Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World
Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Program
(UNEP), the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment
and Health (UNU-INWEH), the International Water Management Institute
(IWMI), and the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage
(ICID) were the other six partners. Between 2011 and 2013, these
capacity development activities brought together 160 representatives
from 73 UN member states from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Further
support in these fields and the continuation of the SUWA initiative were
strongly requested by the participants during these activities. With the
formal cessation of UNW-DPC in 2015, the coordination of the SUWA
initiative was transferred to the United Nations University. Currently

the United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management
of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) and UNU-INWEH
are responsible for coordinating SUWA activities together with other
The current phase of SUWA aims to support UN member states
in developing their national capacities in focus areas identified and
prioritised during 2011–2015, promoting the safer and more productive
use of wastewater. Developing countries and countries in transition
remain to be the focus. Sharing information between countries/regions
on “good practice examples of safe water reuse in agriculture” is one
of the important objectives identified during the early phase of the
SUWA initiative. In support of accomplishing this objective, UNUFLORES
identified several interesting case studies from around the
world in 2015. Many of them were also orally presented and discussed
at the workshop organised by UNU-FLORES in Lima, Peru, in February
2016. This book includes 17 such case studies selected from Latin
America, Asia, and Africa. For ease of navigation through the content,
the material is presented in three sections; Section I: Technological
Advances; Section II: Health & Environmental Aspects; and Section III:
Policy & Implementation Issues. We sincerely hope the content of this
book will enhance knowledge sharing between the regions and also
help us learn from each other.
We wish to thank the authors of the case studies for their hard
work in sharing their knowledge as well as for the roles they played as
peer reviewers. Special thanks also go to our own colleagues at UNUFLORES,
including Mr. Arjun Avasthy and Ms. Serena Caucci for their
tireless contribution. Last but not least, we would like to offer our sincere
gratitude to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation
and Development (BMZ) for the generous financial support we received
to make this project a reality.

Hiroshan Hettiarachchi
Reza Ardakanian

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