Our work on Goal 6
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
As one of the world’s leading research institutions and the UK’s first university to have social responsibility as a core goal, we’re tackling the SDGs in four inter-related ways: through our research, learning and students, public engagement activity and operations.
Here’s a selection of our work addressing Goal 6.
Researchers in Chemical Engineering and Analytical Sciences have worked with our spin-out company Arvia Technology to develop an electrochemical process that has dramatically reduced wastewater pollution levels and enabled water recycling across numerous industries.
The Arvia process has reduced pollutant levels from pesticides to match UK drinking water standards; removed 90% of pharmaceutical residues and natural hormones from industrial wastewater; and reduced the release of high microbial wastewaters which can cause anti-microbial resistance.
Arvia Technology has now installed treatment systems in 25 companies across 11 countries, including the UK and China.
Our National Graphene Institute Membranes Lab has pioneered a graphene-oxide membrane that can filter salts out of water, making it safe to drink.
This game-changing technology is more efficient and affordable than other desalination technologies and could provide affordable and sustainable clean water solutions to millions of people.
Learning and students
With half a billion people worldwide having poor water supplies and two billion with poor sanitation facilities, our two free MOOCs open up access for citizens and leaders around the world to explore what can be done to solve this complex global issue.
We deliver cutting-edge teaching on clean water and sanitation. For example, Civil Engineering students take a course unit on water engineering, which covers water and wastewater treatment and resource management.
Master’s students in Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Reconstruction are offered a unit on water movement that looks at solutions to groundwater contamination.
Life below water, in rivers and at sea, is threatened by waste flowing from urban river channels into the oceans.
We’ve been highlighting the effect of microplastics – very small pieces of plastic debris including microbeads, microfibres and plastic fragments – on river systems and marine life through a range of pro-active media coverage, engagement with water companies and input into UK legislation on water management.
As part of our world-leading FutureDAMS programme, we’ve produced a guide (PDF) to propose a series of steps and principles for conducting public, private and community stakeholder engagement in decision-making around water-energy-food-environment (WEFE) interventions.
This is underpinned by the principle that better decisions are generated when a broad range of stakeholders are included in a genuinely participatory manner.
We utilise sustainable water extraction technologies on associated university grounds off campus.
This includes using sustainable urban drainage techniques to minimise surface water run-off and flood risks in an environmentally friendly way by mimicking natural water systems such as ponds, wetlands, swales and basins.
We sell exclusively One Water on campus, an ethical company that donates all of its profits to fund clean water systems in Africa while costing the same as other water brands.