Toward Sustainable Municipal Wastewater Treatment System in Tbilisi, Georgia
Abstract: The study is focused on the municipal wastewater treatment system for Tbilisi, Georgia. The study was carried out to analyse domestic strategies and strategies proposed by international aid organisations for water and wastewater (W&WW) infrastructure rehabilitation in Tbilisi, with a view to recommending sustainable solutions. In Georgia, the challenging issue is to find a balance between environmental, social, economic and political considerations in addressing W&WW sustainability. The main reasons for inefficient and inadequate wastewater management in Georgia are: lack of political commitment and financial resources; poor policy, institutional and regulatory frameworks; low prestige and recognition of the wastewater sector in comparison to the water supply; neglected stakeholder interests and preferences, as well as inefficient use of water. The study concludes that the current condition of the W&WW sector corresponds to the social and economic conditions in the country and that most of the principles for W&WW sustainability are poorly addressed in Georgia. The country's strategy is focused on step by step approaches in order to avert further deterioration of the sector with limited financial resources. Hence users' ability and affordability to pay for the service provided are taken into account. The strategies proposed by international organisations are mostly low investment oriented and are focused on water efficiency measures. The study recommends setting priority goals and short term objectives for W&WW sector rehabilitation and further development, taking into consideration the interests of all stakeholders, the country's development potential and the needs of future generations. The study also recommends that sustainability be addressed through low investment approaches, paying more attention to water efficiency measures through economic mechanisms.
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