One of the most quoted WASH statistics was recently “downgraded”. For every $1 invested in water and sanitation, not $8 but “only” $4 is returned in economic returns through increased productivity. This recalculation , says the World Health Organization, is mainly a result of higher investment cost estimates and the more complete inclusion of operation and maintenance (O&M) costs.
Providing a better insight into O&M costs has been one of the achievements of the WASHCost project of the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. WASHCost has published minimum benchmarks for costing sustainable basic WASH services in developing countries . The project collected data from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Andhra Pradesh (India) and Mozambique.
The main message is that spending less than the minimum benchmarks will result in a higher risk of reduced service levels or long-term failure. NGOs claiming that “US$20 can provide clean water for one person for 20 years” have clearly forgotten to include annual recurrent costs for operation and maintenance, capital maintenance and direct support.
The real cost for 20 years of basic water supply from a borehole and handpump would be, per person, between US$ 20 and US$ 61 for construction plus US$ 3-6 every year to keep it working. In total for the 20 years this would amount to US$ 80 to US$ 181 per person.
Similarly, for the most basic sanitation service, a traditional pit latrine, the combined costs would be US$ 37 – 106 per person over 20 years.
Posted in Economic Benefits, Publications
Tagged cost-benefit analysis, Economics of Sanitation Initiative, handwashing, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, life-cycle costs, sanitation costs, statistics, WASHCost, Water and Sanitation Program, World Health Organization
A new IRC paper explores some contributions being made by honey-sucker tanker operators — that renders a small-scale sanitation service informally and within the private sector — on waste (faecal) extraction and, in some cases, reuse. Operating outside the legal framework of waste management, this paper provides preliminary insight into the limitations and potentials of the ‘honey-sucker business’ as a sanitation service model, based on selected experiences in Bengaluru (India).
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre is happy to announce two research calls in the field of sanitation:
- Low-cost sanitation technologies for areas with high groundwater tables
- Faecal sludge secondary treatment options
These calls are part of the BRAC WASH II programme in which EUR 1.5 million will be used for innovative research, tendered to consortia of leading European and Bangladeshi research organisations. The other action research calls will focus on low-cost water supply technologies; Geo-referenced database for monitoring; menstrual hygiene management; and saline intrusion.
1. Guidelines for research call on low-cost sanitation technologies for areas with high groundwater tables
2. Guidelines for secondary treatment options for faecal sludge
Extended deadline for submission of full proposal application forms: 31 August 2012
Please do not send requests for information or applications to the Sanitation Updates blog.
Posted in Funding, Research, Sanitary Facilities, South Asia, Technology, Wastewater Management
Tagged Bangladesh, BRAC, BRAC WASH II programme, faecal sludge management, high groundwater tables, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
A new paper reviews the case for the importance of hand, food and menstrual hygiene as candidates for post-MDG goal and target setting. Of the three themes, handwashing with soap at key times is the one which has been the subject of most research and therefore is associated with the strongest evidence base.
The paper was written by a team from the Hygiene Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) under contract to USAID. It is an output of the Hygiene Working Group, one of the four Post-2015 Monitoring Working Groups set up by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP). The purpose of the background paper is to stimulate and inform discussion, but not to make any claims for consensus nor suggest that any of the definitions, indicators, goals or targets proposed are final.
In 2013 the United Nations General Assembly will be asked to decide what development goals the international community should seek beyond 2015. The decision will be made based on a proposal that will be submitted to the General Assembly. This proposal will include goals, targets and indicators pertaining to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The indicators proposed will reflect principles associated with the human right to drinking water and sanitation.
Related web sites:
Biran, A., et al, 2012. Background paper on measuring WASH and food hygiene practices : definition of goals to be tackled post 2015 by the Joint Monitoring Programme. London, UK, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Available at: <http://www.irc.nl/page/72911>
Indigenously developed honey sucker in Bengaluru (Bangalore), south India. Photo: Vishwanath Sankrathai
The dumping of untreated faecal sludge in urban areas has been described as an ecological time bomb. In African cities, typically less than 15 percent of residents are served by centralised sewage systems, and figures for Asian countries are not much better. Yet there is a growing number of examples where re-use of urban faecal waste as fertiliser is linking city households and peri-urban farmers in a chain that provides both affordable sanitation and soil fertility. A recent study of sanitation services provided in Bengaluru (Bangalore), in southern India, suggests such approaches deserve to be legalised and scaled up within an appropriate legal framework to ensure the safety of farm workers and consumers.
Read the full article in the New Agriculturist, July 2012
Waste is a resource in the wrong place. People who have no sewer connection do go to the toilet though urban authorities seem to think differently given the neglect of the multitude of sanitation self-service models that have emerged in many cities.
During a webinar, which was organised on 2 May 2012, Joep Verhagen of the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre presented the results of a case study, which investigates a model that is based on the productive use of faecal sludge by farmers in and around Bengaluru (Bangalore), the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. This particular service has emerged without any technical or financial support.
For more IRC webinars go to: www.irc.nl/page/69625
Alana Potter, lead author of the WASHCost working paper on “Assessing hygiene cost-effectiveness“, explains the importance of changing hygiene behaviours so that improved water and sanitation can lead to the expected health benefits. She has been reviewing indicators, tools and methods that sector institutions are using to monitor and measure hygiene behaviour change and identified three key hygiene behaviours common to all of these tools. Simply put, these are hand washing, using a toilet (i.e. separation of faeces from users) and safe management of household water. These are crucial for health benefits to be derived from improved water and should be remembered on World Water Day.
Interview and video by Nicolas Dickinson, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
March 21, 2012
Source: IRC / WASHCost, 21 Mar 2012
The UN announced that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to cut the number of people who do not have access to safe drinking water by half, has been met five years before the 2015 deadline. In contrast, the sanitation MDG target will not be met.
The report issued by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) says that between 1990 and 2010, over two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources such as piped supplies and protected wells.
Does this really show an early success for the MDG? How reliable is the UN report on safe drinking water?
Joining presenter Adrian Finighan on Inside Story are guests: Patrick Moriarty, in charge of the International Programme for the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, a Netherlands-based NGO; Joakim Harlin, a senior water resources advisor at the UNDP; and Muhammad Jahangir, the founder of Better Tomorrow, an NGO focusing on water sanitation.