Started in June 2016, the EU-African project “VicinAqua” has been developing an efficient, flexible and robust system for wastewater treatment and reuse in Lake Victoria Basin, Africa. Eleven industrial, research and public organisations from Denmark, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Malta, Tanzania and Uganda conceived the VicinAqua novel solutions as a tailor-made response to the growing needs for sanitation and water and food supply of local inhabitants and industries, reducing stress on the sensitive ecosystems of Lake Victoria. The project is coordinated by Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences in Germany and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 689427.
VicinAqua follows an integrated approach to develop a sustainable combined wastewater treatment and recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) for water reuse – for example in agriculture – and an aquaculture industry of higher quality in the Lake Victoria Basin. The VicinAqua wastewater treatment unit mainly consists of a novel membrane bioreactor (MBR) with self-cleaning parts avoiding biofouling and the use of chemicals. The filtered, nutrient-rich effluent water coming out of the MBR flows into the RAS, and the surplus can be used for irrigation. The remaining sludge from the filter system is co-digested with local organic waste to produce biogas. This biogas, together with advanced photovoltaic panels, provides for decentralised electricity supply. A remote, easy-to-operate monitoring system enables control of the pilot also with a smartphone.
In addition, VicinAqua promotes sound approaches to water management, taking into consideration broader socio-economic factors and fomenting job creation and greater gender balance in decision-making. The technological development and demonstration at pilot scale is combined with participative measures to raise awareness among the local population and achieve an efficient capacity building of local companies, entrepreneurs and policy-makers.
The project partners have now started to build a pilot site in the city of Kisumu, Kenya. It will produce high quality fingerlings of the local fish species Tilapia to supply the pond aquaculture of the area with stocking material. The pilot should be finished and inaugurated in November this year and will be operated by the Kenyan project partner Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (DALF) of Kisumu County when the project has ended.
VicinAqua is a medium-scale, focused research project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 689427.
11 partners from 7 European and African countries aim to develop an integrated approach for water management by providing an integral, sustainable, innovative, cost-effective and robust solution for water sanitation combined with the demand for clean water in aquaculture and irrigation in the Lake Victoria Basin.
The European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme