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.
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.
Can the methodology that re-imagined urban water management adapt itself to meet new challenges?
Did you know that, when you go shopping, you are acting as a Budget-Constrained Utility Maximizer? Or, in common parlance, you are trying to maximize your happiness, welfare or living standard with the cash you have in your pocket.
Next week as thousands of practitioners gather at annual World Water Week in Sweden the focus is on cooperation, echoing the UN’s declaration of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation.
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.
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?
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.