Journal “Sustainability” focuses on “Water in the Circular Economy” in a Special Issue
Sustainability is an international, cross-disciplinary, scholarly, peer-reviewed and open access journal of environmental, economic, and social sustainability of human beings. In a special issue “Water in the Circular Economy” the role of water management in the circular economy will be discussed. The circular economy is “a regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimized by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops”. Water management can contribute to the circular economy by closing water loops, recovering resources from water, and recovering energy from water. Water management covers the whole watercycle: surface water management and groundwater management, drinking water production and transport, sewerage and wastewater treatment and disposal. All these elements offer opportunities to realize a circular economy. Resource efficiency targets the recovery of resources and energy from water streams. Water and energy targets the development and implementation of water-related technologies that contribute to the energy transition. Freshwater resource management targets the (re)use of water for robust freshwater provision. Governance aspects, such as the scale level, the transition over time and the distribution of responsibilities are crucial in realizing a circular economy. Water in the circular economy however also introduces risks. Quality in the (closed) watercycle is important. It determines how wide circularity can be introduced in the watercycle on the one hand, while it also determines the limits to avoid negative effects on public health.