New International Global Wastewater Database - new data pool will boost global assessment and monitoring of wastewater and its fate.

As the world urbanises, demands on water resources will skyrocket. Not only will burgeoning cities increase their water use, more and higher quality food will be needed to sate urban appetites.

Millions of farmers are already responding to this new reality by using urban effluents to grow crops in peri-urban areas. Wastewater is a source of water all the year round, rich in nutrients and, if safely used, can be a highly productive resource.

But until recently there was little data on how much municipal wastewater was potentially available or actually used for productive purposes. Now a new addition to the FAO’s AQUASTAT global water information system, in partnership with IWMI and the CGIAR Research Program on Water Land and Ecosystems, seeks to address this gap.

In comparison to other existing wastewater and sanitation databases that focus on percentage of sanitation coverage or pollution loads, AQUASTAT focuses on the volume of municipal wastewater. This is to facilitate the integration of these data into the existing water resource and water use accounts in the different countries.

"When we started four years ago there was no recognised global repository for this kind of data," says Mateo-Sagasta a senior researcher in water quality and safe reuse. Since then FAO, and now IWMI, have reviewed data from country briefs, national reports, databases, peer-reviewed publications and information provided by national experts.

Since data come from many different sources, inconsistencies may occur over the course of time. Therefore, each time new data become available there is a detailed review and validation of all data, both newly obtained and those already available in the database.

You can access the new database, in English, French and Spanish, here

Canadian Water and Wastewater Association