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Arup apply circular economy principles for sustainable water management


The circular economy aims to recast the way we produce and consume the world around us, keeping materials at their highest value for longer, finding ways to conserve energy and re-use resources. It’s circular because ideally this results in a productive system where almost nothing is wasted. It’s economic because it’s aligned to smart commercial objectives.

WIF member Arup, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Antea Group have produced a white paper, ‘Water and Circular Economy,’ which postulates the theoretical basis that can be used to develop a framework to identify opportunities for application of circular economy principles to water systems.

At many stages in the water cycle, from abstraction to treatment, distribution to discharge, a circular approach reveals opportunities for all stakeholders, including water utility companies in particular, to conserve water, capture and re-use energy, extract and reuse valuable materials and by-products, and, crucially, improve commercial operations.  Switching from our existing, largely unsustainable, linear mindset of ‘take, make, use, dispose’ to a circular paradigm requires rethinking many aspects of production. The systemic nature of the circular economy requires both the ecosystem of water management and its individual components to change.

The white paper explores the relationship between the principles of Circular Economy and Sustainable Water Management and establishes a common language that will enable effective communication between Circular Economy and Water Management practitioners. 

Commenting on the white paper, Mark Fletcher, Global Water Leader at Arup, said “Companies that want to remain profitable in a world with increasingly scarce resources need to adapt their business models and make far greater use and re-use of materials. ”

The white paper can be downloaded here.

Arup are a member of the Water Industry Forum. For more details on Arup including contact details, please click here.

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