Between 2016 and 2018, together with the Gaston Berger University (UGB) of Saint-Louis (Senegal), the Solidarity Foundation of the University of Barcelona has promoted two projects based on the implementation of low cost, sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies to contribute to the sustainable management of water resources in the Saint-Louis region of Senegal with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life and the welfare of the population.
The project “Contribution to the sustainable management of water resources of Saint-Louis (Senegal)” (01/12/2016 – 30/11/2018), which has been supported by the City Council of Barcelona and the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, has been based on the transfer of knowledge destined, on the one hand, to promote sustainable and ecological solutions for the management of wastewater and, on the other hand, to improve the capacity of the local institutions to manage sanitation services.
The project “Natural technologies for the sustainable management of wastewater in rural and peri-urban areas of Senegal” (01/07/2017 – 30/12/2018), which has been supported by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID), has focused on the implementation of this type of technologies to achieve sustainable management of wastewater in rural and peri-urban Senegalese areas.
Within the framework of both initiatives, we have carried out numerous trainings (to students, technical personnel, members of the administration, etc.) in matters of integral management of wastewater. As a culmination of both projects, we have created a pilot ecological purification plant, for the treatment and reuse of wastewater, on the campus of the Gaston Berger University, in northern Senegal. Designed with a wastewater treatment capacity of 4-8 m3/day, the plant can treat the waste equivalent of a population of between 50 and 100 people, and is the first ecological system of this type at Senegal. At first, the treated water will be reused to water ornamental gardens and, later, for agriculture.
The plant emerges from a broad collaboration started in 2016 between universities (Gaston Berger University and the University of Barcelona), foundations (UB Solidarity Foundation and Món-3 Foundation), and the companies Sedaqua (a spin-off of the University of A Coruña) and Depur GM. The plant debugging methodology is ideal for the region, since – in addition to the low cost and an ideal temperature – the main materials can be obtained locally. Therefore, studies are being undertaken to reproduce the initiative, mainly in the Saint-Louis region.
Both projects of sustainable management of the water resources of Saint-Louis (Senegal) contribute, especially, to goal A of SGD 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), which aims, by 2030, to expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water and sanitation related activities and programmes. Likewise, for the creation of the wastewater treatment plant, the projects are related to goal A of SGD 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), which aims to facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.