Water Governance Solutions towards Future Environmental Challenges

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2024) | Viewed by 10854

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Beira Interior, 6201‐001 Covilhã, Portugal
Interests: nutrient removal; biofilm reactors; algae technology; water reuse; waste valorisation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Centre of Applied Research in Management and Economics (CARME), School of Technology and Management (ESTG), Polytechnic University of Leiria, 2411-901 Leiria, Portugal
Interests: water governance; energy saving in water and wastewater systems; lifecycle assessment (LCA); water economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water availability in quantity and quality changes considerably among countries and also inside countries. Due to the expected increase in water demand for humans, industry, touristic and agricultural activities regarding water scarcity have been increasing in several regions, exacerbated by the effects of climate change, leading to water shortages, water stress or deficits and water crises. Current governance mechanisms have proved ineffective in responding to climate change. As a result, regions where watersheds are limited struggle to cope with the consequences of water crises and changes in water demands, frequently resulting in the increase in economic costs and social agitation.

Therefore, new methodologies for policy co-design and the integrated implementation of multi-level governance are needed, which could allow the introduction of nature-based solutions for wastewater treatment, energy savings in water infrastructures, energy extraction from wastewater, digital solutions for water management, waste-to-energy recovery approaches, the valorization of waste produced during water and wastewater treatment, lifecycle assessment (LCA) for the analysis and evaluation of water and wastewater infrastructures and green financing as well as the establishment of social, legal and institutional support systems for effective water governance.

The strategic planning for such methodologies would involve the optimization of both water use and energy efficiency for the treatment, storage and distribution of water, the treatment and reuse of wastewaters, the valorization of byproducts (sludges) from water and wastewater treatment and the use of suitable energy operations for maintaining water quality and its reuse.

This Special Issue aims to include research regarding the most recent and innovative solutions for water and wastewater management, which could involve nature-based solutions, practices for reducing energy consumption and carbon release to the atmosphere, digital solutions, byproduct (sludge) valorization, sustainable water and energy governance policies.

Topics will include:

  • Water governance;
  • Water scarcity management;
  • Energy saving in water and wastewater systems;
  • Nature-based solutions for wastewater treatment and reuse;
  • Water and wastewater treatment and sludge valorization;
  • Digital solutions in water and wastewater treatment;
  • Energy generation from water, wastewater and related subproducts (sludge);
  • Effect of climate change on water and wastewater management;
  • Lifecycle assessment (LCA) in water and wastewater infrastructures.

Dr. Antonio Albuquerque
Dr. Eleonora Santos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • water governance
  • water treatment and distribution
  • wastewater treatment and reuse
  • energy saving in water
  • waste-to-energy recovery
  • water byproduct valorization
  • digital solutions
  • climate changes
  • water economy
  • lifecycle assessment

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

32 pages, 12968 KiB  
Article
Delineation of Potential Groundwater Zones and Assessment of Their Vulnerability to Pollution from Cemeteries Using GIS and AHP Approaches Based on the DRASTIC Index and Specific DRASTIC
by Vanessa Gonçalves, Antonio Albuquerque, Pedro Gabriel Almeida, Luís Ferreira Gomes and Victor Cavaleiro
Water 2024, 16(4), 585; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16040585 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 934
Abstract
The risk of aquifer contamination is determined by the interaction between the pollutant load and the vulnerability of an aquifer. Owing to the decomposition of bodies and degradation of artefacts, cemeteries may have a negative impact on groundwater quality and suitability for use [...] Read more.
The risk of aquifer contamination is determined by the interaction between the pollutant load and the vulnerability of an aquifer. Owing to the decomposition of bodies and degradation of artefacts, cemeteries may have a negative impact on groundwater quality and suitability for use due to the leaching of organic compounds (e.g., biodegradable organics, pharmaceuticals, and formaldehyde), inorganic compounds (e.g., nitrate and heavy metals), pathogenic bacteria, and viruses. Factors such as burial and soil type, rainfall amount, and groundwater depth may increase aquifer vulnerability to pollutants generated in cemeteries. The potential for groundwater contamination was investigated in two cemeteries of the Soure region in Portugal (Samuel–UC9 and Vinha da Rainha–UC10), using the classic DRASTIC model, followed by some adjustments, depending on the particularities of the locations, resulting in a Final Classification considered as Specific DRASTIC. By combining Remote Sensing (RS), Geographic Information System (GIS), and Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), groundwater potential zones (GWPZs) were identified, and aquifer vulnerability was assessed, which included the elaboration of thematic maps using GIS operation tools. The maps allowed for the identification of areas with different susceptibilities to contamination: from “Low” to “Very high” for the DRASTIC index and from “Very Low” to “Very high” for the Specific DRASTIC index. Although the difference between the UC9 and UC10 cemeteries is negligible, UC10 is more vulnerable because of its proximity to the community and critically important mineral water resources (such as Bicanho Medical Spa). The Specific model seems better-suited for describing vulnerability to cemeteries. Although there is limited groundwater quality data for the area, the development of vulnerability maps can identify areas that can be sensitive spots for groundwater contamination and establish procedures for pollution prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Governance Solutions towards Future Environmental Challenges)
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15 pages, 2624 KiB  
Article
Unlocking the Secrets of River Pollution: Analyzing Organic Pollutants in Sediments—Experimental Study
by Sadeq Abdullah Abdo Alkhadher, Suhaimi Suratman, Hussein E. Al-Hazmi, Mohamad Pauzi Zakaria, Bartosz Szeląg, Joanna Majtacz and Jakub Drewnowski
Water 2023, 15(12), 2216; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15122216 - 13 Jun 2023
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2253
Abstract
Untreated wastewater released into rivers can result in water pollution, the spread of waterborne diseases, harm to ecosystems, contamination of soil and groundwater, as well as air pollution and respiratory problems for nearby humans and animals due to the release of greenhouse gases. [...] Read more.
Untreated wastewater released into rivers can result in water pollution, the spread of waterborne diseases, harm to ecosystems, contamination of soil and groundwater, as well as air pollution and respiratory problems for nearby humans and animals due to the release of greenhouse gases. The current study aims to investigate the recent input of anthropogenic loads into the rivers using linear alkylbenzene (LAB), which is one of the molecular chemical markers with application of sophisticated model statistical analyses. In order to determine the compositions of LABs, which act as wastewater pollution molecular indicators, surface sediment samples from the Muar and Kim Kim rivers were collected. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was utilized to identify LABs and investigate their sources and degradation. ANOVA and the Pearson correlation coefficient were employed to determine the significance of differences between sampling locations, with a threshold of p < 0.05. To assess the degradation degree and efficacy of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), LABs were identified based on chains ranging from long to short (L/S), C13/C12 homolog, and internal to external (I/E) congeners. The results indicated that LAB concentrations in the studied areas of the Muar River ranged from 87.4 to 188.1 ng g−1dw. There were significant differences in LAB homology at p < 0.05, and a significant percentage of sampling stations contained C13-LAB homology. Based on the LAB ratios (I/E) determined, which ranged from 1.7 to 2.2 in the studied areas, it was concluded that effluents from primary and secondary sources are being discharged into the marine ecosystem in those areas. The degradation of LABs was up to 43% in the interrogated locations. It can be inferred that there is a requirement for enhancing the WWTPs, while also acknowledging the efficacy of LAB molecular markers in identifying anthropogenic wastewater contamination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Governance Solutions towards Future Environmental Challenges)
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12 pages, 885 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Nature-Based Solutions: Efficient Removal of Hydroxytyrosol in Olive Mill Wastewater Treatment for Value Creation
by Cecilia Faraloni, Eleftherios Touloupakis and Eleonora Santos
Water 2023, 15(12), 2163; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15122163 - 8 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1336
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the potential use of the microalgae Chlorella sorokiniana and Scenedesmus quadricauda for the bioremediation of olive mill wastewater (OMW), which is a major environmental issue and a waste product of olive oil production. The study investigated the effects [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the potential use of the microalgae Chlorella sorokiniana and Scenedesmus quadricauda for the bioremediation of olive mill wastewater (OMW), which is a major environmental issue and a waste product of olive oil production. The study investigated the effects of different dilutions (10% and 50%) of OMW on the growth of the microalgae and their ability to remove the phenolic component hydroxytyrosol (OH-Tyr) and enhance their antioxidant properties. The results indicated that, although the growth on OMW was not enhanced, both microalgae strains were able to remove OH-Tyr from OMW, with Chlorella sorokiniana showing higher removal efficiency than Scenedesmus quadricauda. Moreover, the antioxidant activity of the microalgal extracts increased after 96 h of exposure to OMW. These findings suggest that microalgae-based treatment of OMW could be a promising approach for the bioremediation of this waste product and the production of value-added products. Overall, the use of microalgae for the treatment of OMW could provide a sustainable solution for the management of this waste product while generating potential economic benefits for olive producers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Governance Solutions towards Future Environmental Challenges)
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20 pages, 2743 KiB  
Article
Factors That Impact the Implementation of Water Safety Plans—A Case Study of Brazil
by Rafaella Oliveira Baracho, Estela Najberg and Paulo Sérgio Scalize
Water 2023, 15(4), 678; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15040678 - 9 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2587
Abstract
A water safety plan (WSP) is a tool proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the mitigation of risks in water consumption, and little is known about the challenges of its implementation stage. The goal of this work was to identify the [...] Read more.
A water safety plan (WSP) is a tool proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the mitigation of risks in water consumption, and little is known about the challenges of its implementation stage. The goal of this work was to identify the facilitating factors and challenges regarding WSP implementation from a case study in Brazil. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with water supply public service providers who already have implemented such policy and with supporting institutions that helped with the process implementation. As a result, it has been identified that the WSP implementation is strongly influenced by the quality of WSP preparation process, which means that this process is the foundation of the WSP implementation; through internal management of the organization, whose administrative discontinuities thwart the actions’ implementation; and through the relationship of the service provider with the external actors, which can interfere be it in the data collection or the WSP implementation scope’s entirety. Lastly, it was possible to conclude that the WSP preparation process, the organization’s internal management, and its relationship with external actors are the specific factors that impact the WSP implementation. The conduction and deepening of studies aiming to improve the tools of support for WSP implementation are thus recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Governance Solutions towards Future Environmental Challenges)
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17 pages, 1131 KiB  
Article
Study on Factors Influencing Public Participation in River and Lake Governance in the Context of the River Chief System—Based on the Integrated Model of TPB-NAM
by Xia Zhang, Liqun Li, Zhaoxian Su, Haohao Li and Xin Luo
Water 2023, 15(2), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15020275 - 9 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2715
Abstract
Public participation in the context of the river chief system is not only beneficial for long-term river and lake governance (RLG), but it also is an important supplement to the existing governance mode led by the government. On the basis of the integrated [...] Read more.
Public participation in the context of the river chief system is not only beneficial for long-term river and lake governance (RLG), but it also is an important supplement to the existing governance mode led by the government. On the basis of the integrated model of TPB-NAM, this paper discusses the influencing factors and driving mechanisms of public participation in river and lake governance in the context of the river chief system from aspects of self-interest and altruism. Through the investigation of residents, 508 sample data points were obtained and analyzed by the structural equation model (SEM). The results were as follows: (1) the explanatory power of the TPB-NAM model (R2 = 60.7%) was superior to that of the extended TPB model (R2 = 60.0%) and NAM model (R2 = 50.0%). (2) From the perspective of individual rationality, the intention for public participation in RLG had a significant positive influence on behavior, and behavior attitudes and subjective norms could predict their intentions. However, the roles were different; from the perspective of social rationality, awareness of negative consequences could actively affect positive personal norms through the ascription of responsibility, and positive personal norms could promote public participation in RLG. (3) Government norms were another important factor driving public participating in RLG. The results are of great theoretical significance for further exploring the public intention and behavior related to participation in RLG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Governance Solutions towards Future Environmental Challenges)
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