IWA Publishing

Business Models: Where there’s muck, there’s money


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In the developing world, the business of sanitation is rarely considered to be a money maker. However, new developments in the productive use of human waste are opening up real opportunities for cashing in on urban wastewater and sludge. Research carried out by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is attempting to establish where and how such models can be made socially or commercially viable.

Walk through almost any city in the developing world and it is hard not to see how almost every area of open water is little more than a trash-filled sewer. There is a desperate need for investment in better sanitation, but cash-strapped city authorities struggle to meet the challenge. However, what if the human waste that is polluting urban water systems could be used to make money? Then, perhaps, businessmen might take an interest, bringing private sector know-how and resources into partnerships with public providers.

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