Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support

Vienna, Austria

Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support

Vienna, Austria
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Starkl M.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Stenstrom T.A.,Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control SMI | Stenstrom T.A.,Stockholm Environment Institute | Stenstrom T.A.,University of Life science | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development | Year: 2013

This paper reports about the results of an evaluation of selected sanitation systems in India. The following sanitation systems were evaluated: septic tanks, communal Ecosan systems, biogas toilets, solid immobilized biofilters, multiple stage filtration and decentralized wastewater treatment systems (DEWATS). The evaluation has been based on an initial assessment looking at whether the systems comply with their intended benefits, and more in depth evaluations on cultural, economic and/or hygienic aspects where the initial assessment has not provided sufficient knowledge. The evaluation showed that all sanitation systems were well accepted by the users. The highest hygienic risk is present in septic tanks, where sludge handling poses a high risk for persons handling it. © IWA Publishing 2013.


Starkl M.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Amerasinghe P.,International Water Management Institute | Essl L.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Jampani M.,International Water Management Institute | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development | Year: 2013

High population growth, increasing urbanization and rapid economic development are exerting pressure on the already scarce water resources in India. Treatment and reuse of wastewater can play an important role in addressing some of the urban water challenges. Conventional treatment plants have many challenges, therefore, natural treatment systems (NTSs) are viewed as a cost-effective alternative, which are more suitable in the Indian context. This study builds on a desktop study of NTSs and presents a rapid sustainability assessment of 12 NTSs, highlighting the potential and viability of NTSs in India. The results show that the NTSs have a high potential for wastewater treatment. However, there are still gaps in knowledge related to aspects that hinder the sustainability of the systems. Risks associated with reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture, operational problems and social acceptance were perceived as frequent challenges. Self-sustaining financing methods and the use of by-products were viewed as added benefits. © IWA Publishing 2013.


Nanninga T.A.,Lettinga Associates Foundation | Bisschops I.,Lettinga Associates Foundation | Lopez E.,The Mexican Institute of Water Technology IMTA | Martinez-Ruiz J.L.,The Mexican Institute of Water Technology IMTA | And 3 more authors.
Water (Switzerland) | Year: 2012

Often centralized water supply, sanitation and solid waste services struggle to keep up with the rapid expansion of urban areas. The peri-urban areas are at the forefront of this expansion and it is here where decentralized technologies are increasingly being implemented. The introduction of decentralized technologies allows for the development of new opportunities that enable the recovery and reuse of resources in the form of water, nutrients and energy. This resource-oriented management of water, nutrients and energy requires a sustainable system aimed at low resource use and high recovery and reuse rates. Instead of investigating each sector separately, as has been traditionally done, this article proposes and discusses a concept that seeks to combine the in- and outflows of the different sectors, reusing water and other liberated resources where possible. This paper shows and demonstrates examples of different types of sustainable technologies that can be implemented in the peri-urban areas of Mexico City [rainwater harvesting, EcoSan and biofiltros (small constructed wetlands), and (vermi-)composting]. An innovative participatory planning method, combining scenario development with a participatory planning workshop with key stakeholders, was applied and resulted in three concept scenarios. Specific technologies were then selected for each concept scenario that the technical feasibility and applicability was assessed. Following this, the resulting resource flows (nutrients, water and energy) were determined and analyzed. The results show that decentralized technologies not only have the potential to deliver adequate water supply, sanitation and solid waste services in peri-urban areas and lessen environmental pollution, but also can recover significant amounts of resources thereby saving costs and providing valuable inputs in, for instance, the agricultural sector. Social acceptance of the technologies and institutional cooperation, however, is key for successful implementation. © 2012 by the authors.


Starkl M.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Brunner N.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Zhong Y.,Development Research Center | Li P.,Development Research Center | And 2 more authors.
Water Policy | Year: 2014

A study aimed at identifying barriers for more efficient water management was carried out on the Yongding river basin (the Yongding being a tributary of the Hai river) in northern China. The basin suffers from severe water scarcity, whereby agricultural water demand is the largest water user with about 66% of the total demand. The study identified two main policy problems: inadequate use of efficient irrigation technologies and a far too low agricultural water price. The study elaborated on policy instruments that could be used to overcome these two policy problems and assessed them using the Planning-Oriented Sustainability Assessment Framework (Starkl et al., 2013), which applies a novel application of the analytical hierarchy process to assess and interpret the individual preferences of interviewed stakeholders based on their experiences with the policy instruments. Respondents agreed that all the considered policy instruments can be implemented. Indeed, most of them are already implemented somewhere in China. However, respondents expect that high levels of effort are needed. For, while policy makers are perceived to accept these instruments, the public in rural communities may not be ready for change. Thus, the promotion of water saving technology appears likely to gain more public support than increased water prices. © IWA Publishing 2014.


Starkl M.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Essl L.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Martinez J.L.,Instituto Mexicano Of Tecnologia Del Agua Imta | Lopez E.,Instituto Mexicano Of Tecnologia Del Agua Imta
Proceedings of the 3rd IASTED African Conference on Water Resource Management, AfricaWRM 2010 | Year: 2010

This paper reports about a study assessing the performance of two constructed wetlands which were implemented within a program for the recuperation of Lake Patzcuaro in Mexico. Both treatment plants contribute to the protection of the Lake Patzcuaro and confirm that constructed wetlands are an appropriate technology for treating domestic wastewater of small communities. The evaluation covered institutional, technical and economic aspects. However, organizational issues and the habit of users throwing garbage into the sewer endanger smooth operation for the future.


Brunner N.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Starkl M.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Environmental Impact Assessment Review | Year: 2012

Where public environmental funds support development of wastewater infrastructure, funding institutions ensure the economic use of funds, while the beneficiaries minimize their own costs. In rural areas, there is often a choice between decentralized or centralized (multi-village) systems: if the centralized system is most economic, then only this system is eligible for public funding. However, its implementation requires a voluntary cooperation of the concerned communities, who need to organize themselves to develop and run the infrastructure. The paper analyzes the social determinants of collaboration in a generic case study, using the following variables: method of (economic) assessment, modeled by the social discount rate, funding policy, modeled by the funding rate, and users' self-organization, modeled by cost sharing. In a borderline situation, where the centralized system turns out to be most economic, but this assessment is contingent on the assessment method, collective action may fail: the advantages of collective action from funding are too small to outweigh organizational deficiencies. Considering in this situation sanitation as a human right, authors recommend using innovative forms of organization and, if these fail, reassessing either the amount of funding or the eligibility for funding of more acceptable alternatives. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Starkl M.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Brunner N.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Stenstrom T.-A.,Durban University of Technology
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2013

The results of an independent evaluation of 60 case studies of water and sanitation infrastructure projects in India, Mexico, and South Africa, most of them implemented since 2000, demonstrate an ongoing problem of failing infrastructure even in economically advanced developing countries. This paper presents a meta-analysis of those project case study results and analyses whether the design of existing policies or other factors contribute to failures. It concludes that the observed failures are due to well-known reasons and recommends how the implementation of the Dublin-Rio Principles can be improved. (They were introduced twenty years ago to avoid such failures by means of more sustainable planning.) © 2013 American Chemical Society.


Brunner N.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Starkl M.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Sakthivel P.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Elango L.,Anna University | And 4 more authors.
Water (Switzerland) | Year: 2014

The objective of this study is to bring out the policy changes with respect to managed aquifer recharge (focusing on infiltration ponds), which in the view of relevant stakeholders may ease the problem of groundwater depletion in the context of Chennai City; Tamil Nadu; India. Groundwater is needed for the drinking water security of Chennai and overexploitation has resulted in depletion and seawater intrusion. Current policies at the municipal; state and national level all support recharge of groundwater and rainwater harvesting to counter groundwater depletion. However, despite such favorable policies, the legal framework and the administrative praxis do not support systematic approaches towards managed aquifer recharge in the periphery of Chennai. The present study confirms this, considering the mandates of governmental key-actors and a survey of the preferences and motives of stakeholder representatives. There are about 25 stakeholder groups with interests in groundwater issues, but they lack a common vision. For example, conflicting interest of stakeholders may hinder implementation of certain types of managed aquifer recharge methods. To overcome this problem, most stakeholders support the idea to establish an authority in the state for licensing groundwater extraction and overseeing managed aquifer recharge. © 2014 by the authors.


Starkl M.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Brunner N.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Lopez E.,Mexican Institute of Water Technology IMTA | Martinez-Ruiz J.L.,Mexican Institute of Water Technology IMTA
Water Research | Year: 2013

DPSIR and the three-pillar model are well-established frameworks for sustainability assessment. This paper proposes a planning-oriented sustainability assessment framework (POSAF). It is informed by those frameworks but differs insofar as it puts more emphasis on a constructivist conception which recognises that sustainability needs to be defined anew for each planning problem. In finding such a consensus definition, POSAF uses participatory scenario analysis and participatory planning, technical feasibility study, participatory assessment, analysis of trade-offs and social networks in an unusual combination and for goals that differ from the original conceptions of these methods. POSAF was applied in a peri-urban area of Mexico City for the design of improved water service provision, integrating solid waste management. It supported consensus amongst users about the importance of environmental issues, informed planners about the values of stakeholders and users, detected local differences, and identified possible conflicts at an early stage of decision-making. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Essl L.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Starkl M.,Center for Environmental Management and Decision Support | Kimothi P.C.,Uttarakhand State Water Supply and Sewerage Organisation | Sandhu C.,FH Dresden | Grischek T.,FH Dresden
Water Science and Technology: Water Supply | Year: 2014

As part of the Saph Pani project, a rapid assessment of a riverbank filtration site in Haridwar and data from literature on riverbank filtration and managed aquifer recharge in India are used for a strengths' weaknesses'opportunities'threats (SWOT) analysis based on environmental, social, institutional and economic aspects. Both technologies show a high potential for future application in India, where alternative solutions are required to mitigate water scarcity and reduce the over-exploitation of groundwater aquifers. © 2014 IWA Publishing.

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