IRC’s WASHCost Project will be one of approximately 50 exhibits that will be on display during the two-day Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India. IRC will present the WASHCost Calculator; an online tool that helps professionals to plan for WASH services that are built to last.
The Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India is being co-hosted by the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It will coincide with World Water Day on March 22, 2014. The fair is also supported by the Indian Ministry of Urban Development.
In 2011, the Gates Foundation launched the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge (RTTC) to develop toilets without connections to sewer, electrical, or water systems. Sixteen of those prototypes will be on display in India.
The WASHCost Calculator takes into account everything from construction, finance, and installation, to maintenance, repairs and eventual replacement. It raises issues such as who owns the infrastructure or who is responsible for replacement. It helps you to think about how you are going to maintain the service before you’re trying to build it. The online tool is designed to compare data across organisations and is dynamically updated, growing smarter with each additional project. And the tool is now online at: http://washcost.ircwash.org
IRC has created a poster, which gives an example of how the WASHCost Calculator can be used for rural sanitation in India.
- IRC selected as an exhibitor for the Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India, IRC, 20 Mar 2014
- Girindre Beeharry and K. VijayRaghavan, Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India – Solutions for India and the World, Impatient Optimists, 10 Mar 2014
A new video by IRC’s WASHCost project examines the full costs of building traditional latrines in Mozambique.
Cost data is essential for planning by the governments. In Mozambique, this is done by local authorities. There are many challenges in getting the right data. One of them is getting data on sanitation and the investments made by households themselves, in particular when latrines are constructed with local materials.
WASHCost Mozambique managed to calculate the estimated total costs for building a traditional latrine. The cost data shows that families are massively contributing to improving public health. The data also shows that promotion of hygiene and sanitation is really worth the effort.
When there is promotion, families build latrines and spend money on them.
For more on the life-cycle costs of sanitation and hygiene read:
For more on sanitation in Mozambique read:
Sustaining sanitation is much more expensive than building latrines. The 20-year cost of sustaining a basic level sanitation service per person in certain countries is anywhere from 5-20 times the cost per person of building the latrine in the first place.
This is one of the key findings on costing sustainable sanitation services, which are being highlighted in the first month of the WASHCost campaign. The campaign was launched on 24 October, and every month until March 2013, it brings a roundup of fast facts from the WASHCost research project, experiences from several organisations which are using the life-cycle cost approach and ways to get involved.
Posted in Africa, Campaigns and Events, Economic Benefits, Publications, Sanitary Facilities, South Asia
Tagged finance, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, irc's approach, life-cycle costs, sustainable sanitation, sustainable sanitation services, WASHCost
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, finance, handwashing, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, life-cycle costs, sanitation costs, statistics, WASHCost, Water and Sanitation Program, World Health Organization
Potter, A.; Klutse, A.; Snehalatha, M.; Batchelor, C.; Uandela, A.; Naafs, A.; Fonseca, C.; Moriarty, P. (2011). Assessing sanitation service levels. (WASHCost working paper; no. 3). 2nd ed. The Hague, The Netherlands, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. 27 p. : 16 fig. 12 ref.
Download full paper
Conventional sanitation ladders rank sanitation in increasing complexity of technological options. However, sanitation improvement is not as straightforward as the concept of “a ladder” with incremental improvements, might suggest. For example, from the user perspective, a VIP toilet may in some circumstances be a better option than a septic tank system. There is a wide gap between technologies and service provision, especially when O&M considerations are taken into account. This working paper from IRC’s WASHCost project sets out a common framework to analyse and compare sanitation cost data being collected across different country contexts (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique, India) with different service delivery norms and standards. It represents a fundamental shift away from the focus on capital investment costs, to the costs of sustainable sanitation services.
Most sanitation costs in rural and peri-urban areas are borne by households and when these are taken into account, the per capita costs are actually higher than those for water. State expenditure on capital maintenance, operation and maintenance, and direct and indirect support costs for sanitation is minimal in all four research countries of the WASHCost project. Households in Africa are spending surprisingly high amounts on soap. These are some of the findings that were presented at the IRC Symposium in The Hague on 16-18 November 2010.
The WASHCost project is working with partners in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique and in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh to collect and analyse cost data for water and sanitation services in rural and peri-urban areas. The overall aim is to build better cost data into country systems to increase the quality of services, especially targeting issues of poverty, equity and cost-effectiveness.
Posted in Africa, Hygiene Promotion, Research, Sanitary Facilities, South Asia
Tagged Burkina Faso, changing behaviour, finance, Ghana, India, Mozambique, open defecation, sanitation costs, soap, WASHCost
Conventional sanitation ladders rank sanitation in increasing complexity of technological options. However, sanitation improvement is not as straightforward as the concept of “a ladder” with incremental improvements from op full flush, might suggest.
For example, from the user perspective, a VIP toilet may in some circumstances be a better option than a septic tank system. There is a wide gap between technologies and service provision, especially when O&M considerations are taken into account. A new working paper  from IRC’s WASHCost project sets out a common framework to analyse and compare sanitation cost data being collected across different country contexts (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique, India) with different service delivery norms and standards. It represents a fundamental shift away from the focus on capital investment costs, to the costs of sustainable sanitation services.
 Potter, A. and Klutse, A. (2010). Assessing sanitation service levels. (WASHCost working paper ; no. 3). The Hague, The Netherlands, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. 27 p. : 15 fig., 11 ref.
Download full paper
What does it really cost to extend and sustain safe water and hygienic sanitation to poor communities in developing countries? The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting the IRC’s project, WASHCost: Quantifying the cost of delivering safe water, sanitation and hygiene services, with a US$14.48 million (Euro 9.86 million) grant over five years to answer this question and to transform information, learning and performance in the sector.