The problem

Although 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, water reserves useable for mankind are vanishingly small. Of the 1.38 billion-km3 water available on earth, 97.4% are made up of the saltwater of the oceans, and are only available for anthropogenic use after immense technical and monetary efforts. Out of the remaining 2.6% of freshwater reserves (0.36 billion km3) 2% (0.28 billion km3) are stored in form of polar, marine, and glacial ice, and are thus unavailable for economic and, predominantly, ecological reasons. This leaves 0.6% (0.08 billion km3) in the form of ground and surface water, and soil and air moisture for usage by the rapidly growing human population.

It is estimated that almost 89% of the global population had access to an improved drinking water source in 2012. Nevertheless, 748 million people still lack access to an improved drinking water source. Further, one third of mankind does not have any sanitary facilities or wastewater disposal systems. Additionally, due to worldwide growth of population, the urbanisation, and industrialization of former rural areas, the demand for water resources has grown and becomes increasingly polluting. Consequently, less and less water will be available for other purposes, such as drinking water, fish farming, or irrigation. “Water” is undeniably at the heart of the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda that puts therefore a strong emphasis on environmental protection and sustainability. Here, the sustainable use of water is one of the most important issues for development cooperation.

The goal

The primary goal of the Braunschweig Competence Centre and its international cooperation partners is to promote capacity building, knowledge transfer, and to develop core proposals for sustainable water management. The latter includes technologies for manifold use and reuse of water. For instance two thirds of fresh water worldwide is currently used in agriculture that literally drains away into the ground. Here, treated wastewater could be recycled and reused for further application, e.g. in agriculture. The water utilized in the industrial sector could also be recycled and reused.
Overall research fields include Sanitary Engineering, Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Water Quality, Waste Management, and Water Governance.

The competence

The global project network consists of 29 full member institutions in 15 countries on 4 continents. The results of the research will be put at the disposal of policy makers, public authorities, and organizations. The research fields covered range from water quality monitoring, waste and wastewater treatment, coastal engineering, flood risk, water in agriculture and ecosystems, and water food print to water governance.

Project Reference to Sustainable Development Goals SDG (Sustainable Development Goals)

The project particularly refers to the following SDGs:

Project Documents

Project Proposal 2015-2019

Five Years of Exceed (2009-2014)  - Closing Symposium