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ECLAC conducts Workshop on Circular Economy in the Water and Sanitation Sector, co-organized with the Commission for the Regulation of Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation (CRA) in Colombia

15 November 2023|Briefing note

The training mission on circular economy in the water and sanitation sector took place in Bogotá, D.C., on November 15, 2023. The workshop was organized by ECLAC and the CRA and covered topics such as the sustainable transition of water, methane management, and nutrient recovery. It featured sessions led by distinguished experts and was attended by senior executives from national-level public service providers, regional corporations, and national entities related to water and sanitation.

The mission aimed to deepen the understanding of circular economy principles in the water and sanitation sector. The event commenced with opening remarks from Jorge Enrique Cardozo Rodríguez, Acting Executive Director of CRA, and Dr. Silvia Saravia Matus, Economic Affairs Officer responsible for Water Affairs at ECLAC.
The sessions were as follows:

1. Sustainable and Inclusive Water Transition:
Led by Dr. Silvia Saravia Matus, this session focused on integrating economic, environmental, and social considerations into water resource management.

2. Circular Economy Approach in Water and Sanitation:
Diego Fernández Giraldo, an expert from ECLAC, examined the application of circular economy principles, emphasizing sustainability and efficiency in this session.

3. Methane Issues in Colombia:
Led by Pedro Chavarro, an expert from ECLAC, this session discussed environmental impacts and mitigation strategies for methane in Colombia. He also presented calculations, discussed a variety of technologies with their pros and cons, feasibility of implementation, strategies, and potential impact.

4. Energy Potential in Medium Wastewater Treatment Plants:
In this session, expert Alfredo Montañez presented ECLAC's research on the energy potential in medium wastewater treatment plants in Colombia and Latin America. The publication can be found here.

5. Energy Potential in Small Wastewater Treatment Plants:
In this session, expert Diego Fernández Giraldo highlighted case studies in Mexico and El Salvador, focusing on the energy potential in small plants.

6. Nutrient Recovery in Wastewater Treatment Systems:
Finally, expert Antonio Santos Sánchez discussed the importance of nutrient recovery in wastewater systems, a key aspect of circular economy practices. The session provided an overview of possible technologies and implementation strategies for nutrient recovery in different wastewater treatment plants.

The training provided a detailed insight into how circular economy can be effectively integrated into the water and sanitation sector, considering the Colombian context. The sessions sparked interesting discussions and offered innovative solutions, concluding with a dynamic Q&A session for increased engagement among attendees. To review the presentations, press here.