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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.

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