Sustainable Water management Improves Tomorrow’s Cities’ Health (SWITCH)

SWITCH is a major research programme, funded by the European Union and involving 32 partner organisations in 15 cities. SWITCH was coordinated by IHE-UNESCO, the Netherlands. RUAF partners IGSNRR, IWMI and IPES implemented research on productive reuse of urban water (including storm and wastewater) in urban agriculture in Beijing (China), Accra (Ghana) and Lima (Peru); RUAF partner ETC (the Netherlands) systematised the results of the three studies.

Duration: 5 years
Funding: European Union
Project partners: IHE-UNESCO (Coordination); RUAF Foundation (ETC, IWMI, IPES and IGSNRR). For the 32 other project partners see the SWITCH project website

The SWITCH project established city multi-stakeholder learning alliances that guided and supported SWITCH in the development and implementation of its research and demonstration activities, the implementation of a strategic planning process approaching the urban water cycle in an integrated way and allowing the development of new strategic directions for urban water management.

RUAF Foundation contributed with activities aimed at realizing a paradigm shift in wastewater management and sanitation towards a recycling-oriented closed-loop approach. The activities were focused on three cities: Accra (Ghana), Beijing (China) and Lima (Peru) and included:

  • The identification of opportunities for appropriate productive reuse of urban storm and wastewater for agriculture,
  • Design, implementation and monitoring of pilot projects
  • Facilitating the integration of productive reuse of wastewater in the policy and planning frameworks of these cities.

Results obtained (RUAF-implemented part):

  • An inventory of opportunities and limitations for treatment and reuse of wastewater for urban agriculture.
  • Guidelines for safe reuse of wastewater in urban agriculture.
  • An analysis of the collection, storage and reuse of urine in urban agriculture.
  • A system for rainwater harvesting and use in urban protected horticulture


Final report:

Beijing case study and pilot projects

Accra case study and pilot projects

Lima case study and pilot projects