Resource Recovery from Water Cluster


Since the introduction of drinking water production and wastewater treatment in the beginning of the 20th century, the two main goals were to protect human health and to protect the receiving aquatic environment. To achieve this, water and wastewater treatment processes removed pollutants. With the increasing global awareness that we need to transfer toward a sustainable society, a third main goal needs to be added: to recover resources during water treatment. Many constituents of ‘used water’ can be recovered such as potable water, heat, nutrients, metals, and carbon. Therefore, ambitious targets have been set to re-shape wastewater management practices. We believe that the water sector has to play an important role in the emerging circular economy of the 21th century.

Within the IWA, resource recovery is recognized as an important cross-cutting theme that is highly relevant (either directly or indirectly) for several of IWA’s specialist groups. These groups work on specific topics and/or in well-defined areas by sharing in-depth knowledge among group members. As resource recovery touches upon many specialties, there is a need for a ‘connecting mechanism’ linking relevant activities of the specialist group within the context of resource recovery.

To that end, the IWA has set-up a Cluster for Resource Recovery from Water with the goal to accelerate the use of resource recovery from water and wastewater around the world. One of the key mechanisms for the Cluster for Resource Recovery from Water to contribute to this goal is by improving the IWA internal communication and collaboration amongst relevant specialist groups.

On a more strategic level, the objectives of the Cluster for Resource Recovery from Water are:

  • To promote resource recovery from water and wastewater by bringing together R&D, the water industry, governmental bodies and regulators, and end-users of recovered resources;
  • To celebrate success of economically and environmentally attractive approaches to resource recovery through the bi-annual Award for Best Practices in Resource Recovery from Water in collaboration with Allied Waters and AquaMinerals.
  • To network on innovations in resource recovery from water through organizing or contributing to international conferences, workshops, and publications;
  • To promote links with complementary organizations (in particular those organisations operating within specific industrial segments outside of the water industry);
  • To consolidate and enhance worldwide networking among regional, national and multi-national associations and expert groups dealing with resource recovery from water.

The management committee of the cluster consists of: Ger Bergkamp (Arcowa, Switzerland), Ludwig Hermann (European Sustainable Phosphate Platform, Austria), Korneel Rabaey (Ghent University, Belgium), Miriam Otoo (Ghana), Goksen Capar (Ankara University, Turkey), Celine Vaneeckhaute (University of Laval, Canada), Lars Angenent (Tuebingen University, Germany), Jeremy Guest (Illinois University, USA) and Ilje Pikaar (Wageningen University, the Netherlands).

Prof. Ana Soares

Cranfield University, United Kingdom

Mr. Olaf van der Kolk

the Netherlands

Prof. Francesco Fatone

Marche Polytechnic
University, Italy

If you are interested in contributing to the cluster or wish to have more information about the specific themes and key resources prioritised by the cluster please visit the cluster’s page and join us on IWA Connect Plus.

Furthermore, please feel free to contact the Cluster Chair or IWA Engagement Officer for Specialist Groups Rachna Sarkari at