Raised latrines survive floods in Bangladesh

Low cost latrines constructed by the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP) in Bangladesh performed well in their first real flood test.

After the July 2012 floods, which also hit the CLP programme area in the districts of Jamalpur and Kurigram on the northern Jamuna, only 14% of the low cost latrines were destroyed or unusable. During the flooding, recipients continued to have access to sanitation.

Low cost latrines raised above flood levels

Low cost latrines raised above flood levels. Photo: CLP

Households in CLP districts are raised on earthen plinths 60 cm above the highest known flood level. The Programme ensures access to clean water and sanitation by also raising water points and installing latrines on plinths.

By June 2012, the programme had installed 15,000 low cost sanitary latrines – the target is 50,000. CLP provides a concrete slab (with plastic pan and water-seal) and a cash subsidy. Households dig the pit and provide the latrine superstructure. For households on a raised plinth, the cash component is Tk 450 (US$ 5.60), while for all other households this increases to Tk 650 (US$ 8.10), to cover the cost of raising the latrine on its own plinth.

During the flood, 15% of the households reported that their latrine had been eroded and 17% that their latrine was submerged. After the flood had receded – 54% of the latrines were intact whilst 32% had a weakened structure but were still usable; 10% were unusable and 4% had been fully destroyed. These results were similar for latrines situated on raised homesteads and stand alone latrines raised outside the homestead.

Regarding latrine use during the floods, 77% of households reported using their own latrine and 20% using another household’s latrine.

Source: Kenward, S.; Cordier, L.; Islam, R., 2012. A study to assess the performance of CLP raised plinths, low cost latrines and access to clean water during the July 2012 flood. Bogra, Bangladesh, Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP). Available at: washurl.net/2ryn6t and washurl.net/79ox96

Website: www.clp-bangladesh.org

For more on raised latrines see:

  • Morshed, G. and Sobhan, A., 2010. The search for appropriate latrine solutions for flood-prone areas of Bangladesh. In: Waterlines, vol. 29, no. 3, p. 236-245 : photogr., 3 tab. Available at: washurl.net/26eao4
  • Parry-Jones, S., 2003. Low-cost sanitation in areas with a high groundwater table. (WELL factsheet). [online] Loughborough, UK: Water, Engineering and Development Centre, Loughborough University of Technology. Available at: washurl.net/1r2898
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