A systems thinking view on circular economy in water

A systems thinking view on circular economy in water

Tanaka Mandy Mbavarira

This study provides a systemic view on circular economy in water by asking: What are the economic and operational system effects of a circular economy on water utilities? A literature-based economic view of the urban water system is qualitatively modelled, overlaid with a modelled circular water economy system supplemented with input from expert interviews and case studies. Digitalisation, water reuse and resource recovery were found to be the key tools underpinning circularity in water, providing compelling operational benefits through efficiencies and a boost in revenue generating potential. However, issues of investment, non-cost reflective water pricing and a missing enabling legal framework are slowing their rate of uptake. Therefore, circular economy is seen to be both a challenge and an opportunity for the water industry. Given that circular solutions are context-specific, further research is needed to better understand context-specific quantitative system behavior.

Studienbetreuer: Christoph Imboden

Productivity-based water billing Quelle: own figure
Hydrousa Project
Highly aggregated system effects of the circular water economy model

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