Tag Archives: John Kalbermatten

John Kalbermatten, “Low-cost sanitation champion”, 1931-2009

John Kalbermatten. Photo: Connell Funeral Home

John Kalbermatten. Photo: Connell Funeral Home

John Kalbermatten, 77, former Senior Water & Wastes Advisor at the World Bank, died on Thursday, 26 February 2009. Born in Luzern, Switzerland, he worked as a professional engineer for the city of Bethlehem, USA, the World Health Organization, retiring from the World Bank in 1986. John continued as a private consultant for 14 years.

In his blog, Prof. Duncan Mara writes: “low-cost Sanitation has lost its greatest Champion”. Realising that the World Bank’s “investments in sewerage were not reaching the poor, [Kalbermatten] persuaded the Bank to fund the 1976-78 low-cost sanitation research project”, says Mara. “This produced some truly ground-breaking publications – for example, the three books on Appropriate Sanitation Alternatives […] – some people, including some sector ‘specialists’, are even now “reinventing” quite a bit of what’s in the first two, simply because they haven’t read them (and probably don’t know about them)”, Mara continues. (More references to publications by John Kalbermatten can be found in IRCDOC).

“John then obtained funds from UNDP in 1978 for project GLO/78/006 for the Technology Advisory Group (TAG), which he established, to start putting the lessons of the research project into practice. TAG’s successor today is the Water and Sanitation Program. Maggie Black’s 1999 publication 1978-1998: Learning What Works – A 20 Year Retrospective View on International Water and Sanitation Cooperation details the work of TAG.

View John Kalbermatten’s guest book on the Connell Funeral Home web page.