I’ve just been reading Study for Financial and Economic Analysis of Ecological Sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa − Final Synthesis Report produced by Hydrophil and Atkins (April 2009). It compares the costs (in net present value terms) of VIP latrines, EcoSan toilets and conventional sewerage in urban areas in Burkina Faso, South Africa and Uganda. It’s interesting but it doesn’t attempt to estimate the costs of simplified sewerage. However, there are some cost data from South Africa in Sanitation for a Healthy Nation: Sanitation Technology Options (DWAF, 2002), which gives capital costs of ZAR 600−3000 for single-pit VIP latrines, ZAR 3000−4000 for eThekwini latrines, ZAR 2500−3000 for simplified sewerage, and ZAR 6000−7000 for conventional sewerage. [If you lived in a high-density low-income urban community in South Africa, which would you choose?]
So we can’t conclude much, if anything, from the Hydrophil/Atkins report about what are the best sanitation options in low-income high-density urban areas in Sub-Saharan Africa − and that’s a real pity.