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Institutional Challenges to System Innovation in Wastewater Management – The Case of Urine Diversion in Sweden

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Abstract:

While incremental change and optimisation of existing sanitation systems will undoubtedly provide environmental efficiencies in the process of wastewater management, long term sustainability may only be possible though system innovation or the large scale transformation of the way the wastewater system is managed and the service is provided. Analysis of the introduction and development of urine diversion (UD) in Sweden over the last two decades is presented as case study of system innovation to examine the institutional challenges in transitioning to alternative socio-technical systems of sanitation. In particular we analyse the multiple levels of governance (the local, national and supranational) in supporting nutrient removal, recovery and reuse from wastewater, which is often cited as enabling the diffusion of UD in Sweden. In synthesising the institutional challenges to system innovation as a pathway to sustainable development of the wastewater sector, this paper highlights the importance of process-oriented policies that strengthen public/private partnerships and enhance citizen participation in strategically trialing and learning about new technology across multiple dimensions of the system (technological, social, institutional , environmental and economic).

Keywords: Urine Diversion (UD); enabling environmental policy; institutional challenges; sustainable technology development

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864710798284706

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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