Water and Sanitation

Themes: 

Over the years, developing countries, have been facing enormous backlogs in the provision of sanitation services, especially in urban poor communities, that have resulted partly from the use of inappropriate service approaches, coupled with limited financial resources and rapid urbanisation and population growth.

Background

The Human Settlements Group seeks to inform policy-makers, professionals and practitioners about the scale and nature of inadequate water supply and sanitation and the most effective strategies to improve the situation.

The group has continually been interested in ensuring improved water, sanitation and drainage in low-income urban areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

Over the years, developing countries, have been facing enormous backlogs in the provision of sanitation services, especially in urban poor communities, that have resulted partly from the use of inappropriate service approaches, coupled with limited financial resources and rapid urbanisation and population growth. 

  • Half the world's population live in urban areas and of which a third, almost 1 billion, are desperately poor and live in slums without access to adequate water and sanitation. 
     
  • Although the majority of people without adequate sanitation services live in rural areas, the worst environmental conditions exist in the vast, urban informal settlements, due to the high population densities there. 
     
  • As many as 150 million urban residents representing up to 50 per cent of the African urban population do not have adequate water supplies, while 180 million, or roughly 60 per cent of people in urban areas lack adequate sanitation.  
     
  • In Asia, 700 million people, constituting half the urban population, do not have adequate water, while 800 million people, of the urban population is without adequate sanitation. 
     
  • Over 120 million urban dwellers in Latin America and the Caribbean, lack access to adequate water. At least 40 percent of the urban population in Latin America and the Caribbean are without adequate sanitation. 
     
  • An estimated 2.2 million people die from water and sanitation related diseases every year with the majority being children. 

In most cases, the situation of the urban poor is exacerbated by the fact that their settlements are considered illegal; for this reason they lack access to decision-making mechanisms. Difficulties in achieving improved water and sanitation are further compounded by low investment in the sector. 

The International Response

  • Has been to look to internationally comparable indicators to monitor progress, international financial mechanisms to fund improvements, and internationally endorsed institution shifts (e.g. more private sector participation) to drive improvements.
     
  • Insufficient attention has been given to indicators, financial mechanisms and institutions that are designed by and for localities.
     
  • Meanwhile, there are many innovative and inspiring examples of locally driven initiatives that improve water and sanitation provision in deprived urban areas, including some that have reached considerable scale. The report Water and Sanitation in the World’s Cities documents many of these case studies (see publications section). 
     
  • Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): The aims of the Millennium Goals to halve the number of people without adequate access to water and sanitation services by 2015 but the MDGs do not have a stronger focus on local institutions and processes. More information can be found at http://www.unicef.org/wes/mdgreport/.
     
  • International Year of Sanitation: The United Nations declared 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation (IYS) to raise the profile of Sanitation in the international development arena. As a contribution to the International Year of Sanitation the Human Settlements Group will organise a side event at the World Water Week in Stockholm in August 2008. For more information about the International Year of Sanitation, see www.sanitationyear2008.org.

The Work of IIED on Water and Sanitation

  • Critical reviews of the potential role of the large private water companies in addressing the needs of the poorest urban dwellers, and of the potential role of water resource management
     
  • Documenting locally-driven initiatives, many of which involve partnerships of one form or the other between community organizations and non-governmental organizations, local authorities and/or utilities.

Current Projects:

Improving Urban Water and Sanitation provision Globally, Through Information and Action Driven Locally.

The aim of the project is to enable the IIED partners in Angola, Argentina, Ghana, Pakistan and India to learn and share experiences directly from each other, and influence the efforts of international agencies to improve water and sanitation in deprived urban communities. The project is guided by the following themes: 

  • Working in collaboration
     
  • Loans, subsidies and financing water and sanitation improvements
     
  • Using information to drive local action and monitor improvements
     
  • Going to scale

Project summary

Project Encourages Developing Countries to Share Strategies for Improving Water Quality, Sanitation
http://voanews.com/english/Africa/2008-09-15-voa36.cfm

National Water Supply and Sanitation Council of Zambia
http://www.nwasco.org.zm/

Water Alternatives
http://www.water-alternatives.org/

Water and Sanitation Programme
http://www.wsp.org/

WSUP – Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor
http://www.wsup.com/

IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
http://www.irc.nl/

WEDC – Water Engineering Development Centre
http://wedc.lboro.ac.uk/

Maji na Ufanisi (Water and Development)
http://www.majinaufanisi.org/

WaterAid
http://www.wateraid.org/uk/

Department of Water and Forestry (DWAF) – South Africa
http://www.dwaf.gov.za/

UNICEF – Water Environment and Sanitation
http://www.unicef.org/wes/

World Health Organisation (WHO)
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/en/

Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
http://www.siwi.org/

Publications

Video: 'El Agua era un Sueño' (Water was a Dream)
'Water was a Dream' is a film describing IIED-America Latina's involvement in the improvement of water supply and sanitation services in three low-income urban settlements of Buenos Aires. It illustrates the challenges and strategies, and examines the key issues related to working in collaboration, using information as a driver for change, finance mechanisms, and scaling up.

An Analysis of Sanitatioin Policies in Southern Africa: the case of gender policies in sanitation in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Mulenga, Martin, Gift Manase and Ben Fawcett (2006), Water, Engineering and Development (WEDC), Southampton.

Community-driven development for water and sanitation in urban areas. Its contribution to meeting the Millennium Development Goal targets
Satterthwaite, David, Gordon McGranahan and Diana Mitlin (2005)
Study commissioned by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), Geneva as an input to the 13th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 2005, New York

Local water and sanitation companies and the urban poor,
Human Settlements Discussion Paper, Water 4, IIED. McGranahan, Gordon and David Lloyd Owen (2006) 27pages 
 

Informal water vendors and the urban poor, Human Settlements Discussion Paper, Water 3, IIED
Kjellén, Marianne and Gordon McGranahan (2006) 27pages
 

Governance and getting  the private sector to provide better water and sanitation services to the urban poor, Human Settlements Discussion Paper, Water 2, IIED
McGranahan, Gordon and David Satterthwaite (2006) 35pages
 

Privatization and the provision of Urban Water and Sanitation in Africa, Asia and Latin America , Human Settlements Discussion Paper, Water 1, IIED
Jessica Budds and Gordon McGranahan (2003) 55pages
 

Water and Sanitation - Environment and Urbanization Vol 15. No.2 IIED 2003
This issue of the journal focuses on water and sanitation.
All articles can be downloaded free of charge from http://eau.sagepub.com/content/vol15/issue2/

Decentralised wastewater management in peri-urban areas in low-income countries
Environment and Urbanization Vol.15 No. 1. IIED
Jonathan Parkinson and Kevin Tayler, 2003, 16pp
View PDF online at Sage Publications (free)

Demand-Side Water Strategies and the Urban Poor
Poverty, Inequality and Environment (PIE) Series 4, IIED
Gordon McGranahan, 2002, 70pp, ISBN 1 84369 231 7
 

Small Enterprises and Water Provision in Kibera, Nairobi
Public, Private Partnerships and the Poor, WEDC
Munguti Katui-Katua and Gordon McGranahan, 2002, 38pp, ISBN 1 84380 002 0
 

Experiences with Water Provision in Four Low-Income Barrios in Buenos Aires
Public, Private Partnerships and the Poor, WEDC
R. Schusterman, F. Almansi, A. Hardoy, G. McGranahan, I, Oliverio, R. Rozensztejn and G. Urquiza
2002, 56pp, ISBN 1 84380 001 2
 

Developing community-based watershed management in Greater São Paulo: the case of Santo André
Environment and Urbanization Vol 13. No. 1. IIED
Basil van Horen, 2001, 14pp (111K)
View PDF online at Sage Publications (free)

Waiting at the tap: changes in urban water use in East Africa over three decades
Environment and Urbanization Vol 12. No. 2. IIED
John Thompson, Ina Porras, Elisabeth Wood, James Tumwine, Mark Mujwahuzi, Munguti Kaui-Katua and Nick Johnstone
2000, 16pp (159K)
View PDF online at Sage Publications (free)

Indicators for urban environmental services in Lucknow; process and methods
Environment and Urbanization Vol 11. No. 2. IIED
Aromar Revi and Manish Dube, 1999, 20pp (84K)
View PDF online at Sage Publications (free)

Cities, sewers and poverty: India’s politics of sanitation
Environment and Urbanization Vol 11. No. 1. IIED
Susan Chaplin
1999, 14pp (78K)
View PDF online at Sage Publications (free)

Who really benefits from environmental sanitation services in the cities? An intra-urban analysis in Betim, Brazil
Environment and Urbanization Vol 11. No. 1. IIED
Léo Heller
1999, 12pp (195K)
View PDF online at Sage Publications (free)

Small-scale entrepreneurs in the urban water and sanitation market
Environment and Urbanization Vol 11. No. 1. IIED
Tova Maria Solo
1999, 16pp (89K)
View PDF online at Sage Publications (free)

Partners

Contact

Martin Mulenga
Martin.Mulenga@iied.org