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5 Reasons Why Just Building Toilets Won’t Improve Urban Sanitation

Peter Hawkins's picture
Also available in: Français | Español

It’s widely reported that most of the world’s population lives in urban areas. UN-Habitat estimates that 40% of urban dwellers live in slums, and that number is growing by more than 20 million people per year. Perhaps, less commonly reported is that while population is growing rapidly, urban sanitation coverage has only increased slightly.
 
While toilet access is generally higher in urban areas as compared to rural, sanitary conditions in urban areas are aggravated by high-density living, inadequate septage and solid waste management, and poor drainage. Recent analysis by WSP concludes that to make any significant impact it is essential to adopt a multi-dimensional approach to this complex problem. Here are five reasons why urban sanitation is about more than building a toilet.

Five Myths about the Business of Sanitation

Jemima Sy's picture

A recent study by the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank surveyed over 100 firms providing on-site sanitation services to the base of the pyramid in four countries (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Peru and Tanzania) and debunked widely held beliefs on the motivations and potential of firms in the growing sanitation market.

Managing Water Use in Scarce Environments

Anders Berntell's picture

The growing gap between safe freshwater supply and water demand is forcing the world to tackle the issue from a new and more collaborative perspective. It calls for cooperation between the government to provide appropriate policies and regulations, the private sector to provide innovation and technology, and civil society to provide inputs from the users.

Q&A: Engaging with Citizens in India for Improved Water Services

Vandana Bhatnagar's picture

Is there a model to track citizen experience of water services and present it in a ready-to-use manner for decision makers and the public? Would better articulation of citizen preferences encourage more meaningful engagement with service providers? 

3 Innovative Ways to Manage Rural Water Supply

Meleesa Naughton's picture

With 70% of the world's extreme poor living in rural areas, and improved water access still lacking for close to 768 million people around the world, investing in safe and sustainable drinking water for rural populations is important to our goal of eradicating extreme poverty within our generation.

When compared to urban water supply, rural areas present a different set of challenges:

Often, the cost per capita of constructing water systems is higher in rural than in urban areas, due to a smaller population which is scattered over a large area. This, in turn, leads to high operating costs, to be recovered by fewer users.

Most importantly, there may not always be an obvious institution to take the responsibility of managing and operating the system after construction. This institutional vacuum leads to poor collection of water fees, and ultimately to poor operation and maintenance of the rural water systems.

Pourquoi une hausse globale de 4 °C ne provoquera pas qu’une seule crise de l’eau

Julia Bucknall's picture
Also available in: English

On parle beaucoup de « crise de l’eau », au singulier. Mais pour nous qui travaillons sur ces questions, les crises de l’eau sont  multiples, et elles s’aggravent à mesure que le mercure monte pour dépasser le niveau des températures préindustrielles de 2, voire 4° C.

Why a 4-Degrees World Won't Cause Just One Water Crisis

Julia Bucknall's picture
Also available in: Français
There is much talk of a water crisis. We who work in water don't really see just one; we see lots of different water crises already now, getting worse as we move towards 2 and eventually 4 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures. Floods in some places, droughts in others, poor operation and maintenance making infrastructure unable to protect citizens in some places, lack of enforcement of rules leading to pollution crises or rampant overuse of groundwater in many others. So there are lots of water crises, some caused by nature, some by humans and most some a combination of the two.

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