Interview D.A. Savic - Expert insights: Embedding circularity into water management


“The circular economy aims to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature. Most discussions about circularity revolve around material goods – but what about water? Water is by nature cyclical: it flows, freezes, evaporates, and infiltrates across the planet – but it is never lost. However, in human-built systems, water tends to flow in one end and out the other in a linear fashion. Therefore water circularity in the built environment is about reducing or eliminating wastewater discharge, maintaining a continuous cycle of use and reuse.
To find out more, we caught up with Professor Dragan Savić, the CEO of KWR Water Research Institute and Professor of Hydroinformatics at the University of Exeter. Based in the Netherlands, KWR is one of the world’s leading applied scientific research centres focusing on the water cycle. Professor Savić is an international expert in smart water systems with over 35 years of experience working in engineering, academia, and research consultancy. What do you understand by the term ‘circularity’ and how does it apply to water management? Savić: For me, ‘circularity’ is a synonym for doing things as nature does it, or in other words, continuously reusing all material in perpetuity. Using nature as a model is in opposition to our dominant ‘linear’ economic system, where after we make a product and it comes to the end of its useful life, it becomes waste and damages our environment and climate.The same principle of circularity should apply to water and water management so that we don’t have to deal with ‘wastewater’ but find new ways to extract material and energy during the water recycling process.”

(Citation: Interview D.A. Savic – Expert insights: Embedding circularity into water management – (2022)1 February)

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