New Book on Wastewater Irrigation and Health

(to be published in Feb. 2010)

In most developing countries wastewater treatment systems are hardly functioning or have a very low coverage, resulting in large scale water pollution and the use of very poor quality water for crop irrigation especially in the vicinity of urban centres. This can create significant risks to public health, particularly where crops are eaten raw.

“Wastewater Irrigation and Health” approaches this serious problem from a practical and realistic perspective, addressing the issues of health risk assessment and reduction in developing country settings. The book therefore complements other books on the topic of wastewater which focus on high-end treatment options and the use of treated wastewater.

This book moves the debate forward by covering also the common reality of untreated wastewater, greywater and excreta use. It presents the state-of-the-art on quantitative risk assessment and low-cost options for health risk reduction, from treatment to on-farm and off-farm measures, in support of the multiple barrier approach of the 2006 guidelines for safe wastewater irrigation published by the World Health Organization.

The 38 authors and co-authors are international key experts in the field of wastewater irrigation representing a mix of agronomists, engineers, social scientists and public health experts from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. The chapters highlight experiences across the developing world with reference to various case studies from sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Mexico and the Middle East.

The book also addresses options for resource recovery and wastewater governance, thus clearly establishes a connection between agriculture, health and sanitation, which is often the missing link in the current discussion on ‘making wastewater an asset’.

Authors: Pay Drechsel, Liqa Raschid-Sahli, Mark Redwood, Akiça Bahri and Christopher A. Scott (editors)

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Earthscan Ltd (28. Februar 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1844077969
ISBN-13: 978-1844077960

EAWAG’s Novaquatis wins transdisciplinary award

The Swiss Novaquatis project, focussing on research and development on the concept of NoMix toilets (urine separating toilets) won the award “td-net for transdisciplinary research” 2008 from the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences – carrying a prize of CHF 75,000.

EAWAG writes: “The award is made (…) in recognition of the project managers’ commitment to transdisciplinarity: as well as integrating environmental, engineering and social scientific research, they sought the cooperation of non-academic partners at an early stage.”


Schuhmacher College, UK – New Programme out

Schumacher College, in its own words, “offers transformative learning for sustainable living. Courses at the College aim to empower and equip people who wish to make changes to the world situation they see developing around them.” The new programme for the period from Sep. 2008 to April 2009 offers a variety of intriguing courses.

Ecological engineers, for example, may find thrilling new ideas in concepts in the course “Ethical pioneers – an interactive masterclass for the new entrepreneur” (Nov. 24 – Dec. 5, 2008) or in “Systems thinking in practice” (March 9-27, 2009), or in the one year “Masters Degree in Holistic Science”.

The list of current and former teachers and guest teachers reads like a Who’s who of the ecological community: Wendell Berry, Michael Braungart, Jane Goodall, Margrit Kennedy, James Lovelock, Vandana Shiva, and many many others have been teaching and lecturing there.

Have a look at their website and download the new programme from there:

BBC report on fish farming in Malawi

BBC reported about a successfull fish farming project in Malawi – one of the poorest countries in Africa.  The project combines Tilapia and Catfish farming in rain-fed ponds with raising chicken and goat crop farming (e.g., maize), thus recycling the nutrients very efficiently. A nice example for ecological engineering! Read more at