CSIR engages stakeholders on uptake of water-smart solutions project

Accra, Oct 30, GNA - The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is spearheading a four-year partnership project, which seeks to achieve a wider uptake of water-smart solutions, such as the treatment, recycling and reuse of resources recovered from wastewater.

To achieve this objective, and ensure sustainability, the Council on Friday, engaged key stakeholders at a workshop in Accra, to provide them with the needed information on the project, to enable them to contribute ideas, policies and strategies towards achieving a successful outcome.

The participants were from key institutions including; the Energy Commission, Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, farmer Associations, the various institutes under the CSIR, including; the Water Resource Institute (WRI).

Dr Wilhemina Quaye, the Director, CSIR–Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), welcoming the participants, said the use of untreated streams by urban vegetable and other small scale agricultural farmers, posed a great health threat to consumers, as unwholesome water contained harmful pathogens leading to health implications.

Effective collaboration with stakeholders, she said, was crucial to the success of the project, saying the country’s progress towards achieving the water-related UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was challenged by several barriers including; water scarcity, population growth, and pollution of these resources.

She said in spite of the urgent need to secure natural resources, the implementation of water-smart solutions was limited, due the technological, organisational, regulatory, social and economic to barriers, hence the project, would facilitate industrial cooperation as a means to increase resource efficiency, limit carbon emissions, and develop sustainable business based on water-smart solutions.

The Project, titled “Achieving Wider Uptake of Water-Smart Solutions,” (WIDER UPTAKE), was funded by the European Union Commission, under its Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, was currently being implemented by a consortium of 18 organisations across Europe and in Ghana, and coordinated by SINTEF of Norway from 2020 to 2023.

Dr Quaye, said it was built around a set of innovative circular economic (CE) solutions co-developed by water utilities and private businesses from industry sectors, with high water consumption, high use of material resources and energy such as the agriculture industry, the building and manufacturing materials industry and energy supply.

She encouraged the participants to help in the co-development of a roadmap towards the achievement of the project objectives.

Dr Gordon Akon-Yamga, a Research Scientist with the CSIR-STEPRI, said in Ghana, the CSIR represented by STEPRI, the WRI, and the Institute of Industrial Research, and the Sewerage Systems Ghana Limited (SSGL), were the project partners.

He said among the innovative solutions for wastewater reuse, nutrient recycling and energy recovery, the SSGL, had signed a public-private partnership management contract with the Ministry of Local Government to operate the Mudor waste treatment Plant in Accra, to facilitate the utilisation of treated of wastewater for urban agriculture, and the production of biochar from treated sludge, to substitute wood fuel and reduce emissions and deforestation.

The action, would promote the adoption of biochar for burning in the textile and chemical industries in Ghana, and also the use of treated wastewater for urban agriculture, this new paradigm, would be one of symbiotic solutions with the recycling of resources between sectors in a CE-value chain, and encouraged all the project partners and stakeholders to work hard to achieve the objectives.

He said the project had great prospects, and assured stakeholders that an organised structure would be established under the project for sustained collaboration, and communication in order to expand its benefits and opportunities for.

Dr Ebenezer Ansa, the Principal research Scientist and a Director, CSIR, Animal Research Institute, assured stakeholders of the Councils constant monitoring and control of the quality of these biomass products to ensure the health safety of the citizenry.