Monday, 23 January 2012

Latrines more expensive than sewers!

I normally assume that low-cost sanitation technologies are cheaper than conventional sewerage. Not necessarily so, at least according to Sophie TrĂ©molet’s presentation “Effective Public Finance for Sanitation: A study for WaterAid” presented at the IRC Symposium ‘Pumps, Pipes and Promises: Costs, Finances and Accountability for Sustainable WASH Services’ which was held in The Hague from 16−18 November 2010. Here’s part of what she said:

In Dar es Salaam, the Government chose to concentrate 99% of public funding on building network sewerage and sewage treatment facilities, even though these systems benefit only 10% and 3% of the city’s population, respectively. Household on-site sanitation receives very limited funding for software support[which is] provided in a decentralised and uncoordinated manner, with no evidence of impact. This results in an inequitable situation, as the costs to households of building and maintaining a latrine are about 2 to 3 times higher than those of a network connection [emphasis added]. Public funding for the sanitation sector in Dar es Salaam is therefore not effective, as it does not significantly increase coverage, achieve environmental results or improve public health.

So latrines can be more expensive than sewerage. Ain’t that really strange!

►All the presentations made at the IRC Symposium are available here. Quite a few are well worth reading, especially those on costs.