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Resource Recovery & Reuse – Why is reuse important?. Miriam Otoo – IWMI Resource Recovery & Reuse (RRR) Research Program. 16 th SuSanA Meeting at the 2012 World Water Week. Waste management in low-income countries cannot keep up the pace with urbanization.

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resource recovery reuse why is reuse important

Resource Recovery & Reuse – Why is reuse important?

Miriam Otoo – IWMI

Resource Recovery & Reuse (RRR) Research Program

16th SuSanA Meeting at the 2012 World Water Week


Great mismatch -

“Wasted” resources ≠ Need for water, nutrients and energy

Wastewater – Water (irrigation, aquaculture)

Agro-industrial waste - Energy

MSW, Faecal sludge - Nutrients (ag. production)


Waste reuse has great development potential from the ff. perspectives:

  • Food security
  • Waste management
  • Environmental benefits/ ecosystem services
  • Social benefits

Something is amiss as…

Initiatives aimed at RRR have been characterized in most low-income countries by:

  • High dependence on subsidies;
  • Limited up-scaling potential.

Fundamental gaps in:

  • Economic aspects and institutional linkages;
  • Business planning and management strategies;

Resulting in more failures than successes.


Solutions within Reach: Innovative existing, emerging, and potential RRR business models


Agric. use of untreated and treated fecal sludge

Cost recovery options through wastewater irrigation & aquaculture

Energy from fecal sludge ( financial leverage for nutrient recovery)

Agro-industrial waste to energy ( model transfer to human waste)


objective of the resource recovery reuse rrr program
Objective of the Resource Recovery & Reuse (RRR) Program:
  • To increase the scale and viability of productive reuse of water, nutrients, organic matter and energy from domestic and agro-industrial waste streams through the analysis, development and promotion of related business models.

Water for a food-secure world

rrr program n ew research area within the cgiar water land ecosystems research program crp5
RRR program – new research area within the CGIAR Water, Land & Ecosystems Research Program (CRP5)
one of our core research projects rrr research to implementation
One of our core research projects – RRR: Research to Implementation
  • Composed of two innovative and interlinked concepts:
    • Analysis, development and promotion of economically viable RRR business models – led by IWMI;
    • Development of related Sanitation Safety Plans (SSPs) – led by WHO

Research Approach

1. Research phase: case analysis, model development and feasibility testing of business models for large scale application (4 – 6 cities).2. Implementation phase: Investment in business start-ups, scaling-up of existing businesses (SDC pledged already funds).

current status of activities
Current status of activities
  • 50+ cases so far have been selected for detailed analysis, more under screening;
  • 18 business models so far identified:
    • Wastewater reuse = 5
    • Nutrient recovery-based = 8
    • Energy recovery-based = 5
  • Development of 25+ business models tailored to different waste sources, processes and products, for different entitiesis target.
target audience
Target audience
  • Private sector
  • Business schools
  • Public sector
  • Donors
  • IWMI has co-funding from IFAD and BMGF
  • Hire several post-docs
  • Analyze more cases in detail
  •  The project is important part of
key beneficiaries
Key Beneficiaries
  • Municipalities
  • Farmers
  • Low-income communities

Thank you and please tell us if you know interesting reuse business cases!

Contact: Resource Recovery & Reuse team@ International Water Management Institute (IWMI)