Abstract for: Determining Site-Specific Strategies to Improve the Adoption and Sustainability of Resource Recovery Systems: A Community-Infor

Coastal communities depend upon the health of their marine ecosystems due to the environment’s role in tourism, cultural heritage, food provision, and storm surge protection. However, these areas are vulnerable to the negative impacts of untreated wastewater. Accordingly, resource recovery (RR) systems provide a paradigm shift away from a traditional, linear approach to wastewater treatment towards one that recovers water, energy and nutrients. This study presents a theory-based, community-informed system dynamics (SD) model of the adoption of RR systems in Placencia, Belize. The model’s framework is defined by literature-based theories. The structural relationships and quantification of parameters are derived from surveys, interviews, participatory observations, water quality analysis, and a process-based mass balance model. The SD model was validated with field data and simulated to identify strategies for improving the adoption and sustainability of RR systems. Marketing approaches have the most significant short-term impacts, whereas the technical strategy has the best long-term effect. A combination of short- and long-term approaches increased the stock of adopted systems by 12% and sustained systems by 650%, where 98% of adopted systems are also sustained. The combined approach not only increases installations of RR systems but also the sustainable management of the community’s wastewater resources.