Most cities in Asia face similar wastewater problems, especially the collection of wastewater from households and other establishments. To answer these challenges, 25 participants including national-level and city-level representatives from China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam attended a workshop and went on site visits to learn more about the Vacuum Sewer System for wastewater collection in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 6 – 7 November 2018.
The workshop and site visits showcased wastewater collection via vacuum technology, providing the cities with an alternative solution to the conventional gravity system. It allows the cities to build or expand wastewater collection networks to areas in the cities that are difficult to access such as small roads, densely populated areas, flatland with no slope, beach areas and along the river banks. The capacity to expand their wastewater collection network would enable the cities to contribute to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) number 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 13 (Climate Action), and 7 (Affordable and Clean energy), if the collected wastewater is used as a resource for energy production.
The workshop focused on the technology and suitability of the vacuum waste water collection system for Asia and the Middle East. The participants visited the Palm Jumeirah housing complex in Dubai to see the vacuum wastewater collection in operation, as well as the wastewater treatment plant for the 23,000 inhabitants of the Palm area. Palm Jumeirah Waste Water Collection in Dubai is the biggest application of Vacuum Sewer Waste Water Collection and Treatment in the world. The second site visit was to the vacuum wastewater collection system in Abu Dhabi. Yas Island in Abu Dhabi annually hosts a 5-day Formula 1 car racing event with about 60,000 visitors each day. Therefore, the wastewater collection system must be able to handle a very seasonal and high wastewater load. The cities with seasonal tourism like Chiang Mai, Thailand, Weifang/Binhai, China, Tanjungpinang/Indonesia and Danang, Vietnam saw the possibilities for applying the vacuum wastewater collection system in their cities.
The participants said that the new perspectives and knowledge gained were of great value to their wastewater management and urban development work and expressed their intention to apply the vacuum wastewater collection technology in suitable areas of their cities.
The Nexus approach highlights the interdependencies between achieving water, energy and food security for human well-being, e. g. basic services and economic development, while ensuring ecologically sustainable use of globally essential resources.
The workshop and site visits were conducted in the framework of the GIZ “Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus” project.