Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Energy stored in wastewater


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UNU-INWEH

Mains level: Need for wastewater management

The world generates about 380 trillion litres (tl) wastewater every year. These stores vast amounts of energy, nutrients for fertilizers besides, of course, water, according to recent study by the UN Institute for Water Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH).

Energy in wastewater

  • In principle, nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium recovered from wastewater produced annually can offset 13.4 per cent of global demand to produce fertilizers.
  • Assuming full-energy recovery, the study estimated, current wastewater volume could provide enough methane fuel to power 196 million households by 2030 and 239 million households by 2050.
  • Usable water reclaimed from wastewater can irrigate up to 31 million hectares (mha) of land, the study claimed.
  • The volume of wastewater being generated is projected to rise roughly 24 per cent by 2030 to 470 tl and 51 per cent by 2050 to 574 tl.
  • Treating wastewater efficiently can go a long way in achieving the UN-mandated sustainable development goals (SDG).


  • UNU-INWEH acts as the “UN Think Tank on Water” and contributes to the resolution of the global water challenge through a unique programme of applied research and education.
  • It conceives, develops, and manages water initiatives that help developing countries build their capacity for lasting improvements in human and ecosystem health, and overall reduction in poverty.
  • The  University is not a traditional university in the sense of having a faculty, campus, or students.
  • They respond directly to the regional and global water crisis and facilitate efforts to meet UN Development goals by providing a scientific evidence base.
  • UNU-INWEH carries out its work in cooperation with other research institutions, international organizations, individual scholars, and scientists throughout the world.

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