A tale of clean cities - case studies (San Fernando in the Philippines, Visakhapatnam in India, and Kumasi in Ghana were studied)

  • andreshuesoWA
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A tale of clean cities - case studies (San Fernando in the Philippines, Visakhapatnam in India, and Kumasi in Ghana were studied)

'A Tale of Clean Cities' is a research project commissioned by WaterAid to Partnerships in Practice, to learn from the experience of cities in developing countries that are making good progress in planning and providing city-wide sanitation services. San Fernando in the Philippines, Visakhapatnam in India, and Kumasi in Ghana were studied.
The three case studies are now available in wateraid.org/ataleofcleancities

The synthesis report will be ready by the end of the month, and feature in this session in Stockholm: programme.worldwaterweek.org/event/5543

Andrés Hueso
Senior Policy Analyst – Sanitation
WaterAid

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  • andreshuesoWA
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Re: A tale of clean cities: insights for planning urban sanitation from Ghana, India and the Philippines

WaterAid has just published the synthesis report of this research, trying to learn from the experience from 3 cities in dealing with city-wide sanitation.
You can access the report in French and English (and soon in Spanish and Portuguese), as well as the individual case studies: www.wateraid.org/ataleofcleancities

Andrés Hueso
Senior Policy Analyst – Sanitation, WaterAid @andreshuesoWA





PS: Executive summary:

Uncontrolled urbanisation and proliferation of slums makes development of urban sanitation
a big challenge. To contribute to the efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)
target of universal access to sanitation, the research A tale of clean cities aimed to learn from
three cities that are performing well in sanitation: Kumasi, Ghana; San Fernando, the Philippines;
and Visakhapatnam, India.
Findings showed substantial but uneven progress along segments of the sanitation chain, and
that the urban poor and those who live in challenging areas are being left behind. Common
drivers of progress were: sanitation champions at the municipal level; national political influence;
economic considerations; and support from development partners. Progress resulted from
emerging opportunities; city sanitation planning was not a key determinant.
However, planning exercises did make meaningful contributions, such as forging an aspirational
vision of a clean city. These positive contributions were diverse, dependent on the level of
development of sanitation in the city. The research suggests this development could be
structured into three phases: piloting; consolidation; and city-wide expansion. Approaches
to city sanitation planning could be tailored to these phases and to political opportunities to
maximise their contribution.
On the basis of lessons learned, recommendations for development agents aiming to contribute
to city-wide sanitation progress are to:
1. Nurture sanitation champions at the municipal level.
2. Influence national governments to improve financing and benchmark cities’ performances.
3. Provide technical support for innovation, technical capacity building, monitoring, and learning.
4. Provide financial support that leverages further investments and catalyses change.
5. Be prepared to seize opportunities for change as they arise.
6. Contribute to building a wide-ranging platform for collaboration.
7. Promote city-wide political narratives that highlight universal access, ensuring inclusion
of poor people.
Recommendations for city planners and others involved in city sanitation planning are to:
8. Promote local ownership of city sanitation planning, linking it to funding opportunities
and budgeting processes.
9. Think of city sanitation planning as a process with many functions, including developing
a common aspirational vision for the city.
10. Adapt their approach to planning to the city’s phase of sanitation development and to
political opportunities for change.
11. Approach city sanitation planning as an iterative learning process, with a long-term vision
and a short-term actionable strategy that is regularly renewed.

Andrés Hueso
Senior Policy Analyst – Sanitation
WaterAid

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  • dmrobbins10
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Re: A tale of clean cities: insights for planning urban sanitation from Ghana, India and the Philippines

Thanks for your report. On San Fernando City, Philippines, one thing they did very well was to promulgate a local ordinance on sanitation, set a fee schedule and actually collect the money. The fees were to support a scheduled desludging program, which has been slow to start. As of January, 2016 they had accumulated P19 million (almost $500,000 USD) in their septage management fund, which would certainly be enough to start scheduled desludging in earnest. They have a new mayor now and it remains to be seen what level of priority septage management will have in his new administration, but it will be very interesting to follow the the money and see if it does lead to scheduled desludging as originally envisioned by their project.

David M. Robbins
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  • andreshuesoWA
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Re: A tale of clean cities: insights for planning urban sanitation from Ghana, India and the Philippines

Thanks for your input, David!
The 'sanitation tax' is indeed a great innovation from San Fernando, and it will be good to see what happens with that.

The desludging programme is facing some challenges, primarily due to the prevalence of bottomless pits, that lead to low demand of emptying services and problems with mechanic emptying.

You have some details in the case study report: www.wateraid.org/~/media/Publications/A-...case-study.pdf?la=en

Copying here some relevant bits: "the prevalence of bottomless septic pits (not factored in initially) strongly complicates mechanised desludging and reduces the likelihood that households will need servicing every five years. Demand is very low; the city, which channels customer demand to the company, only receives an average of three requests for emptying per day."

Regards,

Andrés

Andrés Hueso
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  • dmrobbins10
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Re: A tale of clean cities: insights for planning urban sanitation from Ghana, India and the Philippines

Yes, exactly the reason they should start the scheduled desludging program, which is provided for in the local ordinance and for which the people are already paying the tariff. While the actual sludge removal process may be inefficient at first for some on-site systems, it starts the process of city-wide sanitation improvement, which includes inspection, smart enforcement and eventual system upgrading. Agreed they have challenges. One is to entice more private sector operators to provide services to enable competition and bring the overall costs of the program down.

I applaud your article and hope it sheds light on these issues, and provides an incentive locally for continuing the program they have started.

David M. Robbins
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: A tale of clean cities: insights for planning urban sanitation from Ghana, India and the Philippines

andreshuesoWA wrote: Copying here some relevant bits: "the prevalence of bottomless septic pits (not factored in initially) strongly complicates mechanised desludging and reduces the likelihood that households will need servicing every five years. Demand is very low; the city, which channels customer demand to the company, only receives an average of three requests for emptying per day."


Yes this is a peculiarity of the Philippines specifically (which we are also facing many issues with during construction), where they insist on calling what is basically a single pit pour-flush latrine with an outward appearance somewhat like an septic system a "septic tank".

In addition people will only call in emptying services when the tank is overflowing, which is years after the actual time when it should be emptied. But of course that isn't something much different from other countries.

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Re: A tale of clean cities: insights for planning urban sanitation from Ghana, India and the Philippines

Hi everyone,

I found the term ''bottomless pit'' to be confusing. It is not a matter of there being no bottom (which is apparently ambient soil), but rather that the pit is not lined and water-tight, so I would suggest we say ''unlined pit''.

Congrats on this report. There is certainly more work to be done.

Best wishes,
Chris

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  • ddiba
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Re: A tale of clean cities: insights for planning urban sanitation from Ghana, India and the Philippines

Dear All,
Thank you Andrés for sharing the report and everyone for the discussion around it.

I find some interesting lessons to learn for other cities like my own, Kampala, which is in the process of improving city-wide faecal sludge management (FSM) services. The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is exploring business models for engaging the private sector and payment approaches for emptying services (more details on this post forum.susana.org/forum/categories/194-ci...ing-by-bmgf-and-dfid ) and it has been recommended that a new sanitation ordinance should be made (in this consultancy report www.susana.org/en/resources/library/details/2572 ).

But just like in San Fernando, most of the pits in Kampala are unlined (64% of households) and this has serious implications for the demand for emptying services. I wonder if the sanitation ordinance in San Fernando directs that pits should be lined or it's silent on this issue?

Regards,
Daniel

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Re: A tale of clean cities: insights for planning urban sanitation from Ghana, India and the Philippines

Daniel,

I have posted the San Fernando Sanitation Ordinance to the Forum. Here it is:

forum.susana.org/forum/categories/194-ci...on-philippines#18967

As for your question about existing systems, the ordinance establishes "acquired rights" where:

New buildings must comply with proper septic system design and installation procedures, but existing systems are exempt until:
o The property is sold;
o There is a substantial remodel of the building; or
o The Health Officer deems the existing system is contributing to an imminent health hazard.

The rationale is that it would be both impractical and politically unpopular to all of a sudden require that all systems comply with standards. Many tanks in the city are installed underneath houses, making repairs very difficult. Instead, the ordinance provides an organized and long term strategy for existing systems upgrading while describing and enforcing the rules and regulations of proper septic tank practices for new construction.

David M. Robbins
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