Golden Triangle Latin America: Sanitation Learning Alliance Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia

  • Research & Development
  • 111.810 project budget
  • Apr 2017 - Feb 2019
  • Partners: ABIS – the Asociación de Ingeniería Sanitaria y Ambiental, Cochabamba, Centro de Agua y Saneamiento Ambiental, Universidad Mayor de San Simón, Bolivian Water and Environment Ministry
  • Donor: Stichting IHE Delft
  • Donor Programme: DGIS - UNESCO-IHE Programmatic Coorperation II
Latin America and the Caribbean
Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America is a very creative and responsible region when it comes to sanitation and wastewater treatment. However, the newly gathered knowledge is not intensively shared, and a lot of the innovations and novel approaches stay within the countries themselves. This project aims to start working on a so-called golden triangle of sanitation knowledge in 3 countries: Bolivia, Colombia and Brazil. Together with UNESCOIHE, they will work on intensive knowledge sharing and setting up applied research to improve the situation in each country. For the research component, we propose to zoom in on the wastewater treatment in one of the largest cities in Bolivia: Cochabamba, with the surrounding municipalities close to 1 million inhabitants at an altitude of 2,500 m.a.s.l. Its wastewater treatment plant, a waste stabilisation pond called Alba Rancho (receiving around 40% of the city’s wastewater), is heavily overloaded: it receives every day 25% more wastewater than the maximum capacity. Moreover, there is no effluent polishing (other than direct use as irrigation water) or any options for sludge removal and treatment. The surrounding neighbourhood of the WWT plant is an area for milk production and the effluent of treatment plant functions as irrigation water for the grassland. The plant, and therefore the whole city as it discharges in an important receiving water body, will highly benefit from a thorough upgrade. There is the willingness to invest in sanitation, both in hardware and in capacity of the sanitation professionals. Still, it is difficult to know where to start. This project aims at setting up a clever pilot facility - taking future expansions into consideration – under the guidance of true experts from the region (Brazil and Colombia). Parallel to the pilot research, intensive trainings will be prepared and given, to the Association of Sanitary Engineers in Cochabamba and other sanitary engineering professionals. We see this as a key element for continuation of development also after the project. Finally, to also enable financial sustainability of the wastewater treatment, a financial analysis will be carried out over the treatment plant and options for revenue (taxes, and to a lesser extend income generated by sanitation products) will be discussed, in a peer-to-peer setting (Bolivian, Colombian and Brazilian financial experts).

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