Biotechnology applied in the treatment of polluted water resources can play an important role in addressing the challenge of water scarcity in developing countries. Biotechnological methods are governed by plants or micro-organisms which can detoxify contaminants in water, soils, sediment, and sludge. This allows society to reclaim their resource value. However, many applications of biotechnology have not yet delivered practical solutions due mainly to the lack of information about the benefits of these technologies as well as the lack of dissemination of solutions adapted to local circumstances.

WATERBIOTECH is an initiative that will contribute to cope with water scarcity in Africa by providing access to relevant stakeholders in Western, Eastern and Northern Africa to know-how in biotechnologies, good practices and management solutions adapted to their local conditions for the sustainable management of polluted water resources. The targeted countries of the present Coordination Action are Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia. Libya and Ethiopia will be as well regarded and covered by the neighboring partner countries.

WATERBIOTECH, by including key actors in the consortium, builds on the results and outcomes of the EU FP6 projects NETSSAF, ROSA, PROMEMBRANE, PURATREAT and CYCLER SUPPORT, carried out in Northern Africa, Sub Saharan and Eastern Africa.

The idea is to disseminate best practices jointly with all the requirements and the strategy necessary for the implementation of selected biotechnologies specifically assigned to local regions within the targeted countries.

Relevant actors that will benefit from this action will be farmers, providers of sewage treatment services, authorities and decision makers, specialized scientific community, local communities, and general public who live in water stressed areas.

The integrated approach of WATERBIOTECH takes into consideration that different aspects influence the availability to water resources and only a holistic vision can provide effective solutions to enhance water management in African countries. Environmental and health concerns, as well as socio-economic aspects such as households income, water consume patterns, irrigation methods or interests in water resources of different stakeholders must be taken into account in the proposal of solutions.  For that reason, WATERBIOTECH will provide solutions based on a deep analysis of the current situation in the targeted countries, and cost-benefit analyses developed during the project considering the specific requirements of local regions.

WATERBIOTECH outputs will enhance the decision making process by providing guidelines and materials that support stakeholders to implement cost-effective and sustainable solutions adapted to the reality in their regions. These outputs will:

  • Provide recommended biotechnologies adapted to specific local conditions
  • Make available an investment decision tool based on cost-benefit analyses of biotechnological best practices
  • Facilitate the exchange of information between biotechnology providers and end users in order to enhance market opportunities in biotechnology and their operation services
  • Train relevant stakeholders in technical and non-technical aspects required for the implementation of recommended biotechnologies
  • Raise awareness on the necessity of sustainable and environmentally sound technologies for development
  • Show examples of good practices in demonstrative activities of implemented technologies

Moreover, in order to ensure a substantial impact of the project results, WATERBIOTECH will build the capacities of relevant stakeholders in the region through specialized seminars and workshops that enable the transfer of knowledge from experts within the consortium to key actors in the water management field.


2. Project objectives

3. Project summary and structure