WUR Sustainable development goal

6. Clean water and sanitation

Water quality is an important factor for global food production. With the population of the world growing and becoming more affluent, managing of the world’s resources of fresh water becomes increasingly complex.

Water management is not only crucial for the human interaction with extreme events like drought and floods but also a direct factor in the quality of daily life. To feed and create a living environment for the world, today and in the future, is focus of many researchers of Wageningen University & Research.

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Examples of WUR projects

Electricity from wastewater

Wastewater treatment requires electric power, but if it is up to Wageningen scientists this process will actually produce electricity. They have found a way to collect energy from the bacteria that are breaking down the waste. There are bacteria that produce electrons while doing their cleaning work. These bacteria will only be able to survive if they can shed those electrons. Therefore, tiny carbon balls are added to the process. The bacteria slowly charge these specially designed balls, which can be discharged rapidly and are then brought back into the process. The yield is truly green electricity.

Living coastal protection

Eco engineering can be used to protect the coast of Bangladesh. Every year, floods wash away the earthen dikes along the Bangladeshi coast. A barrier could be built in the sea to break the waves. Natural processes could be used to help build this barrier, researchers from Wageningen University & Research and other institutions have shown. When a wall of concrete blocks is built just of the coast, oysters will start living on this wall and over time a semi-natural reef will be formed. Behind this reef, mangrove trees could be planted. This vegetation would break the waves before they reach the land. At the same time, it forms a natural habitat for fish and crabs, which the local population could eat or sell to generate some extra income.