Socio-Hydrological Approach to the Evaluation of Global Fertilizer Substitution by Sustainable Struvite Precipitants from Wastewater

Dirk Jan Daniel Kok*, Saket Pande, Angela Renata Cordeiro Ortigara, Hubert Savenije, Stefan Uhlenbrook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Despite Africa controlling the vast majority of the global phosphate it also faces the greatest food shortages - partially due to a lack of access to the fertilizer market. A more accessible source of phosphorus comes from wastewater flows, which is currently lost through the discharge to open surface waters. Analysing the potential phosphorus production of urban and livestock wastewater in meeting partial agricultural demand for phosphorus can improve food security, reduce consumption of unrenewable phosphorus, reduce pollution, and aid the transitioning to a circular economy. In this study, a global overview is provided where a selection of P-production and P-consumption sites have been determined using global spatial data. Distances, investment costs and associated carbon footprints are then considered in modelling a simple, alternative trade network of struvite phosphorus flows. The network reveals potential for increasing the phosphorus security through phosphorus recycling in particularly the South Africa, Lake Victoria and Nigeria regions. Given Africa's rapid urbanization, phosphorus recovery from wastewater will prove an important step in creating sustainable communities, protecting the environment while improving food security, and so contributing to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-86
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

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