Rural Wastewater Workshop: Beyond Utility Reach?

News & Media

On 19-20th January 2021, the ICPDR co-hosted an online workshop on rural wastewater management with the World Bank and the Danube Water Program.

Polluted river running along town

The presentations, recordings, and the background documents for the "Beyond Utility Reach?" workshop are now all available via the IAWD website, here.

For most of the countries in the Danube region, managing wastewater remains an important challenge to reach water resources protection targets, especially in the context of EU accession and harmonization processes. In the region, approximately 22 million people remain without flush toilet access. However, Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underlines commitments to achieving universal access to water services for all by 2030.

In that context, the issue of providing adequate wastewater collection, treatment and disposal in rural areas is often a neglected topic, overshadowed by wastewater compliance requirements in more densely populated urban areas. In many rural communities of the Danube region, adequate sewage collection systems and treatment facilities remain a critical issue often caused by the lack of financial, technical and staff resources. The lack of awareness in Danubian society, is another additional issue.

This workshop – co-hosted by the ICPDR – followed up on several initiatives related to rural wastewater management in the Danube Region, under the auspices of the World Bank, Danube Water Program, and ICPDR. It aimed to contribute to understanding and awareness of this issue, and to create an enabling framework for sustainable and decentralized solutions for wastewater treatment in rural areas. The workshop focused on issues of wastewater management in smaller agglomerations (below 2,000 PE), with an emphasis on decentralized sanitation and wastewater treatment systems in rural areas, individual (IAS) and low cost solutions. It brought together policy makers, government and utility representatives, academia, consultants and international institutions engaged in field of rural wastewater.