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ECLAC participated in the Dialogues for Water organized by SAGUAPAC Bolivia

24 June 2021|Briefing note

ECLAC presented "Successful experiences of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus approach and its relationship with reducing pollution in the Environment"

The Dialogues for Water are a series of virtual events organized by the Cooperativa de Servicios Públicos Santa Cruz (SAGUAPAC) of Bolivia together with the Association of Cooperatives (FEDECAAS) and the Autoridad de Control y Fiscalización Social de Agua y Saneamiento (AAPS). These talks are aimed at exchanging knowledge and experiences of water and environment-related issues in order to optimize the practices of the sector at the local level. Among the invited experts are academics, researchers, authorities, water cooperatives, and specialists in the water sector at the local, national and international levels.

The dialogue with ECLAC experts was developed on June 24 and reported approximately 120 visits in the Facebook Live platform. The first intervention by Silvia Saravia Matus, from the Water and Energy Unit of the Natural Resources Division of ECLAC, presented the concept of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus, the relationship of this approach with the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, in particular with Sustainable Development Goals 2, 6 and 7; and why this is important in the context of Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly in the Bolivian case. In addition, she commented on the contributions of ECLAC for the adoption of this approach through a methodological guide and several case studies that reinforce its application.

Thereafter, Alba Llavona, Consultant at the Water and Energy Unit of the Natural Resources Division of ECLAC, presented the contribution of the Nexus approach in reducing the effects of environmental contamination. Llavona explained that this contribution can be made in different manners, but the treatment of wastewater and the reuse of this waste for the generation of clean energy or its use as fertilizers through biosolids were highlighted. She provided examples of policies from Chile and Bolivia that included the Nexus approach. For instance, Bolivia has the National Irrigation Program with a Basin Approach (PRONAREC), the Irrigation Agenda 2025 and the National Basin Plan (PNC). On the other hand, she commented that Natural based Solutions (NbS), such as Water Funds and other initiatives such as wastewater treatment through anaerobic lagoons in Santa Cruz de la Sierra are key mechanisms in cities that have sufficient space and that also integrate principles of circular economy, which requires not only technical but also institutional innovation for their adoption.

Finally, Alejandra Calderón, World Bank Water and Sanitation Consultant presented "Opportunities for sustainability in wastewater management", highlighting the "Pilot Initiative for the Management of Fecal Sludge in the city of Santa Cruz" that identifies alternatives for fecal sludge treatment, along with preliminary designs and budget. Among the alternatives are: a system of anaerobic lagoons followed by facultative lagoons, a technified system in the wastewater line together with a system of lagoons to stabilize the sludge produced in the wastewater line, and a technified system for the water line residuals. Stabilization of wastewater and anaerobic sludge digesters. Calderón, like Llavona and Saravia Matus, emphasized that to carry out these initiatives it is necessary to improve regulations, as well as to establish technical guidelines.