Water & Circular Economy

Re-connecting with the water cycle

Appetite for the world’s most important resource continues to grow – from water use in industrial processes and agriculture to intensity of urban demand. By 2030, according to the UN, total global water demand is expected to exceed supply by 40% and approximately half of the world’s population will suffer from water stress.

The world needs to move away from a systematic ‘take-make-consume-dispose’ behaviour. This linear model assumes that resources are abundant, available, and cheap to dispose of. By embracing ‘circular economy’ principles and technological innovation, we can preserve natural capital, optimise resources and improve system efficiency to boost sustainability and bring new market dynamics throughout the water cycle.

NextGen aims to boost sustainability and bring new market dynamics throughout the water cycle. Addressing social and governance challenges to ensure long-term adoption and support for circular economy solutions. This includes social acceptability testing, policy and regulation support and development of a future European Roadmap for Water in Circular Economy.

Preserve and enhance natural capital

Optimise resource yields

Foster system effectiveness

Further reading & resources

Water and Circular Economy: a white paper

(Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2018)

Featuring input from numerous NextGen partners

International Water Association (IWA) resources on Circular Economy

Water Utility Pathways in a Circular Economy

(IWA White Paper, 2016)

What is the Circular Economy?

(Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

System Diagram of Water in the Circular Economy

Water, food & energy in the circular economy