Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Anglian Water Research Coordinator



+44 (0)20 7594 6180c.vaghela




301Weeks BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

2 results found

Voulvoulis N, Giakoumis T, Hunt C, Kioupi V, Petrou N, Souliotis I, Vaghela C, binti Wan Rosely WIHet al., 2022, Systems thinking as a paradigm shift for sustainability transformation, Global Environmental Change, Vol: 75, Pages: 102544-102544, ISSN: 0959-3780

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted as reference and universal guidepost for transitioning to Sustainable Development by the United Nations in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, are intended to be used as a set of interconnected goals and global targets for ‘Transforming our world’, as the 2030 Agenda is titled. This is a far more challenging task than business as usual; it requires systems thinking for understanding the conditions that generate and propagate sustainability challenges, moving away from the reductionist and anthropocentric thinking that created them in the first place. Taking a systems approach to addressing these challenges has been gaining currency with academics and policymakers alike, and here we make the case for holistic, integrated, and interdisciplinary thinking that challenges assumptions and worldviews, crucially based on public participation and engagement, to create the enabling conditions for sustainability to emerge. System transformations require interconnected changes to technologies, social practices, business models, regulations and societal norms, an intentional process designed to fundamentally alter the components and structures that cause the system to behave in its current unsustainable ways, a paradigm shift enabling the transition to sustainability.

Journal article

Giakoumis T, Vaghela C, Voulvoulis N, 2020, Chapter Six - The role of water reuse in the circular economy, Wastewater treatment and Reuse – Present and future perspectives in technological developments and management issues, Editors: Verlicchi, Publisher: Elsevier, Pages: 227-252

Water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, energy and food production, as well as healthy ecosystems and the benefits they deliver to us. Water and sanitation are vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, education and economic productivity of populations. Water reuse closes the loop between water supply and sanitation and provides an alternative water source. Wastewater treated to the right quality can replenish water supplies and reduce the demand and availability gap. The transition to a circular economy has the potential to transform current barriers to water reuse, and this chapter investigates its role in closing the loop in water management. Examining various advanced treatment technologies, we conclude that effective water reuse applications can deliver environmental, economic and social benefits. By the time recycled water has passed through the right combination of treatment processes, it is in fact cleaner than regular drinking water. The issue, however, comes down to how much people trust governments to make sure water is safe. As the public is becoming more environmentally aware—maybe more willing to accept “drinking toilet water,” the current prevailing perception of water reuse and main barrier to its widespread application.

Book chapter

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