SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

This contribution is from Yerry Noer Kartiko in Indonesia:

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Hello everyone.
I am so glad to join with this discussion group. My name is Yerri Noer Kartiko, I work for Environment Division in Metro City Local Government, Lampung Provinces, Indonesia. I am a Secretary of Environment Division. I will answer the three question mentioned above, according to my daily working experience in my position and also in my city.

The Local Government of Metro City has good potential source related to financial matters, There are a lot of financial schemes (framework) and sources. The financial sources come from National Government, Province Government, Local Government (taxes and retribution), as well as private (Corporate Social Responsibility) and public financing. The important thing is good awareness and willingness of policy decision making institution to allocate and provide a proper budget for sanitation sector. Nevertheless, sanitation has not been chosen as a top three priority in local development program. It can be assessed by making budget comparison among sanitation and other sectors. Therefore, it is a challenge to convince each policy decision making institution to raise their awareness and willingness into sanitation issues, particularly in local area. So, they can allocate and provide sufficient and proper budget for sanitation.

Every single person and institution who live in Metro City should participate, contribute and engage themselves into sanitation development. One of little steps that they can contribute is paying tax and/ or retribution. They also should be responsible to any sanitation challenge in the neighborhood, starting from their home.

We can consider some components s as the input to calculate the tariff of tax or retribution. They are technical and management costs. Technical cost includes vehicles, installation and machines (operation and maintenance costs), while management cost includes workforces (salary, risk, competency), material, time, and method.

These parameters are important to be covered by tax or retribution. Some reasons for this are: (1). To enhance public participation and engagement; (2). To make a balance condition among the money that provided and obtained by local government; (3). To provide enough money for running the system, both in normal and emergency condition, includes just in case when an accident or incident happen; (4). To educate people or public about responsibility and accountability in sanitation issues.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Yerri
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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

Hi,

I am Dorai Narayana, a freelance consultant working in the sanitation/ sewerage sector, primarily in the Indian Sub-continent. I used to work in the sector in Malaysia, both in a Municipality as well as a National Utility company. My views here stem from that experience.

As we discuss financial sustainability of the sanitation chain, looking in the perspective of City Wide Sanitation, and ask ourselves where public funding should be used (CAPEX & OPEX), we should remember the predominantly public goods nature of sanitation. In the initial stages (where most developing countries are), the importance or priority of sanitation is at a basic level, where the public health at household level is the primary driver. At this level, largely the benefits are to the user, and cost recovery from user can cover the basic costs. This would cover the toilet and a basic containment.

But as we start looking at slightly wider impacts: ground water, overflows to surface drainage, safely transporting the septage, treating and disposing, these are focussed on public health at a community or city level, as well as water resource protection. Here the public goods component is predominant, and the individual user perceives less benefit.

Containments such as the Johkasou in Japan, which was introduced as a gold class on- site system, is partly subsidised by Municipalities.

So I would think we should consider the different parts of the service chain from the perspective of the perceived benefits : by the individual user as well as other beneficiaries, as an indicator of how the costs should be apportioned. This apportionment ratio is likely to change over time, as awareness increases, and people take ownership of community space.

The sector being what it is, a wholly commercial approach is often unsuitable. It may be advantageous (more efficient) to involve the private sector on commercial basis for particular sections of the service chain, but not for the whole business. This should be complemented with a Government or utility level services to cater the unserved or underserved parts of the city.

Experience in Malaysia shows that affordability may not be the real problem, but rather that the user does not perceive benefit, and therefore does not see why he has to pay. Another thing we see in Malaysia is an “unwillingness to charge”. The government subsidises services rather than increase tariffs to appropriate levels.

For large scale infrastructure, such as sewerage and treatment facilities (both sewage and septage/FS) the “lumpy, upfront investment” and long term asset renewal/ rehabilitation / replacement costs are usually too high to be recovered from users. This is generally borne by Government out of tax revenue.

While the formula of 3-T is good for the recurring operational costs, an additional factor of potential revenue from ancillary sources such as resource recovery should also be considered, albeit to a small extent. And it should be remembered that the relative proportions of these would change over time.

The concept of user AND beneficiary pays is a better approach, as the benefits of better sanitation become increasingly felt at community / city/ national levels such as improved overall health, less healthcare costs, increased productivity, economic benefits, tourism etc.

One other lesson is that the affordability of the individual user and the affordability at Government level should be considered when deciding the type of interventions: infrastructure and the level of services. This can then be improved incrementally in tandem with willingness to pay, and possibility of cost recovery.

On the Khulna examples of oversized facilities (we have these in Malaysia too) : what is driving these? Poor planning assumptions? Decision makers using wrong basis ? Lack of follow through to enforce the operationalisation ? Sewerage connections are extremely difficult. Yet we continue to build these massive facilities.

The Arusha example is telling, where people preferer septic tanks to sewer (because they will be required to pay for sewerage line connection). Tariff structures should be designed to incentivise people to go for the appropriate solution, from the City Planning perspective. Clearly here the perceived unreasonable connection charges are going to lead to a situation where the sewerage system will be underutilised.

Another lesson from Malaysia is that co-management of sewered and non-sewered sanitation has great advantages. Cross subsidy is possible, and co-treatment opportunities are opened up, reducing overall costs.

My answer to the questions are:
1. How do you assess the financial health of the sanitation services in a city? (your city) What do you take into account in terms of life-cycle costs and along the sanitation value chain?
The infrastructure and interventions should be planned and phased taking into consideration affordability at user level and Government level. Incremental improvements can be made as willingness to pay (both at user and Govt levels) increases. But it is unlikely that this is being done in a planned manner, especially lifecycle costs.

2. Which parts of the sanitation value chain and/or life-cycle cost do you consider should be covered by tariffs and where do you consider taxes or transfers should be used?
Individual toilets/ containments may be at user’s costs. However where high performance individual systems are required to be used, a part of the costs may be subsidised.

The up-front city wide infrastructure (sewers, treatment facilities) as well as long term asset renewal/ rehabilitation/ replacement costs should be borne out of taxes. Recurring operation/ maintenance costs (at initial stages of basic systems) should be covered largely by tariff. However as treatment systems of increasing sophistication / performance are adopted, some subsidy of costs in proportion to the public goods benefit may be applied.

3. Why should those costs be covered by taxes and/or transfers in your view? How is this the “best use of public money”?
The approach is to apply consideration of private vs public goods . The benefits perceived / accrued at the city / national levels should in general be borne from taxes. The benefits accruing in terms of public healthcare costs savings, improved economic activities, tourism and better beneficial use of water resources will justify this.

Dorai
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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

This contribution is by Lena Ganda Saptalena, SNV in Indonesia:

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Greetings, everyone.

Lena Saptalena from SNV Indonesia here. I have joined SNV since March 2018 and would like to try to exercise my opinion here.

I will try to answer the first 2 questions:
1) How do you assess the financial health of the sanitation services in a city? (your city) What do you take into account in terms of life-cycle costs and along the sanitation value chain?
2) Which parts of the sanitation value chain and/or life-cycle cost do you consider should be covered by tariffs and where do you consider taxes or transfers should be used?


Answer:

Unlike for-profit-businesses where financial health of a service could be assessed by common key performance indicators (KPIs) such as positive profit margin, positive long-term growth (increase in revenue is higher than increase in expenses), low debt ratio, etc., I think for sanitation services in developing countries there should be different indicators since it is very difficult to achieve common KPIs. Maybe these 2 things are most critical:
• Sustainability
• Affordability

To be sustainable, basically you have to be able to cover all costs (but not necessarily should be covered by revenue). Tariff that generates the revenue is limited by affordability. If some people cannot pay for the service, then the service will marginalize those who cannot afford the service (which is not aligned with SDG6).

To maximize revenue from tariff without marginalizing those in the lower/lowest quintiles, maybe it could be achieved in 3 ways:
• Cross-subsidies: by making segmented tariffs. Tariff segmentations from highest to lowest tariffs could be divided into:
o Tariff for commercial business, offices, etc. --> highest
o Tariff for households (HHs), public schools, etc.:
 Highest tariff: housing/ apartment at high land values
 Medium tariff: common HHs
 Lowest to none: those in the lowest quintile. As an illustration, as per March 2019, there are 9.4% (around 25 million) Indonesian still live below poverty line (per capita income is under IDR 425,000/month). Meanwhile, costs for sanitation access and services at SNV project cities (charged by public operator; private operators are much higher):
- In Tasikmalaya: IDR 125,000/ emptying
- In Metro: IDR 250,000/ emptying ** (see the next forum post which clarifies/corrects this)
- In Bandar Lampung: IDR 400,000/ emptying
- Cost to construct toilet: IDR 2,500,000 / unit (low tech)

• Cost to construct containment: IDR 4,000,000 / unit (low tech)
This is simply unattainable by the 2 lowest quintiles

• Applying cost of polluting
o Up to now, those that have containment pay for emptying. Those that don’t have containment pay nothing. This will send wrong message to people (“I invest for containment, I pay for desludging, and I got polluted by my neighbor, so why invest?”). This is especially important because, based on SNV baseline:
 In Tasikmalaya: only 10% population practice regular emptying
 In Metro: 17% population
 In Bandar Lampung: 11%

So, to be fair, there should be two tariffs:
 Tariffs for emptying
 Tariffs for polluting --> higher than the above (as incentive for HHs who contribute in constructing containment). However, if we apply this, people will think it’s ok to pollute the groundwater as long as they pay for the polluting fee. To avoid this, the revenue from polluting fee could be used for:
• Installment to construct containment (paid by “force” by those who actually can afford). Penalty for not paying could be: not getting administrative service from the municipality
• Covering the treatment plant “fixed cost”.
o In terms of O&M costs, there are actually variable and fixed costs. Variable cost is a function of number of customers. For example: fuel (to transport faecal sludge to treatment plant). Unless we apply scheduled desludging, we know that number of trips per day is fluctuating, and the use of fuel depends on that. However, there are fixed cost, for example, regardless of the volume of the service in a given month, treatment plant operators should be given salaries anyway. Some treatment plants are operating under capacity, therefore they do not receive enough revenue from desludging tariff (paid to public emptier by HHs) and from dumping tariff (paid by emptiers to treatment plant operator). Thereby, no enough budget to cover fixed costs

• Applying scheduled desludging where desludging fee could be paid as monthly installment

For the life-cycle costs along the sanitation value chain, it would be practical to make a matrix using the categorization provided in the original e-mail (unfortunately, at this time I am not able to prepare this due to time constraint).


Additionally, I would like to add that, an additional category of cost could be added. In Indonesia, people (city planners) often forgot the “software costs”, such as:
• capacity building costs,
• governance costs (here in Indonesia, to make regulation is also –very- costly; it is not enough to prepare a draft of regulation, the process to gain approval from city-level parliament costs a lot per regulation, thereby hindering the issuing of needed regulation),
• standardization costs (for example if you would like to apply an ISO standard, or to obtain certification for emptiers/ sanitation service providers, etc.)
• planning costs: it should include not just planning of infrastructure facility, but also preparing sanitation roadmap that should be updated every a few years, preparing SOP, socialization & testing of SOP, etc.
• R&D costs -> for example, if you would like to apply a reuse technology, then you need market research etc. While a city does not have to reinvent the wheel (for the type of technology), understanding the market in own city is very context specific and require some investment too

I would like to emphasize the importance of those costs, because, in fact, in Indonesia, as of today, there are 283 onsite treatment plants, but less than 20% are functioning. Therefore, while at the national level there are a lot of funds to be accessed by the local government, often the investment became a waste because the infrastructure could not be operated due to the missing factors as above (no SOP, no supporting regulation, etc).

Those missing costs could be covered by Transfer (such as from NGOs, in form of capacity buildings, etc), but this resource is limited. Therefore, for districts/cities that do not receive Transfer, this could probably be covered by Tax (national budget in combination with city’s local revenue).


Also:

a) Initial investment – community engagement, project preparation, system design, site preparation and installation, commissioning etc. Also includes service extensions.

Who should pay for this? it depends on the district/cities financial condition. Some cities like Jakarta has high budget, they’re able to cover this from their own budget. For most district/cities: this should be paid by tax. In Indonesia, this is supported by national level, as long as districts/cities could meet readiness criteria: providing land, preparing environmental permit documents (three types, but generally the environmental impact assessment document types).

For household premises, this is invested by HHs themselves. Additionally, funds at province level are available to provide subsidy for toilet/containment. However, as we have seen in many studies, this is not a wise practice, unless directed for lowest quintiles.

Generally, as total investment cost for containment is very high, this could be paid through alternative financing such as payable loans.

b) Regular day-to-day operations – operation and maintenance of hardware, administration and management, community engagement, utilities, etc.
Who should pay for this?:
Variable costs: by emptying & disposal (segmented) tariffs
Fixed costs: by all (through polluting tariff/ polluting tax)

c) Intermittent maintenance – minor repairs and replacements (e.g. pumps), desludging, etc. required at relatively short time intervals
Who should pay for this?:
By tariff (users and non-users)

d) Major rehabilitation, replacement and asset renewal – major activities required at relatively long time intervals, such as repairs and replacements of aging infrastructure elements
Who should pay for this?:
Depending districts/cities condition. If able to finance this, by local tax (from LG’s revenue). If not, by national tax.

Capacity building costs and all other software costs:
Who should pay for this?:
Should be factored, but depending on district condition, could be paid from tax (own budget or national budget), or from transfer (grant etc from donors).

Best regards,

Lena Ganda Saptalena
Senior WASH Specialist

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
Jalan Kemang Timur Raya No 66 | Jakarta 12730 | Indonesia
www.snv.org

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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

Follow-up post by Lena, related to her previous one:

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The information on emptying tariff in Metro in my previous post (IDR 250,000/ emptying) was obtained from the Head of Sludge Treatment Plant in Metro city on April 14, 2018, in an FGD attended by 3 SNV advisors (including me) and public and private emptiers, as a part of SNV’s baseline study. At that time, he mentioned only a single tariff. Additionally, at that time, we did not have city coordinator based in Metro city (our city coordinator only joined later in January 2019).

Based on the entry posted by our local government partner in Metro city (Mrs Ika, also contributor in Topic 1), as well as confirmation from our city coordinator, there is a Local Government regulation (issued on 9 Juli 2018), in which Metro city has segmented tariffs for emptying. This good news is more up to date and, therefore, I would like to thank Mrs Ika for providing the information, and additionally, I would like to revise the particular section as follow:

• In Tasikmalaya: IDR 125,000 per emptying (Local Gov. Regulation, Perda No. 5/2011)
• In Metro: segmented tariffs from IDR 150,000 to IDR 225,000 per tank (Local Gov. Regulation, Perda No. 6/2018)
• In Bandar Lampung: IDR 300,000 – 400,000 per emptying (SNV baseline, 2018)

Best regards,

Lena Ganda Saptalena
Senior WASH Specialist

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
Jalan Kemang Timur Raya No 66 | Jakarta 12730 | Indonesia

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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

This contribution is by Chemisto from Uganda:

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My name is Chemisto Satya Ali working with SNV in Uganda.

Below, I share some of my thoughts:

1. Which parts of the sanitation value chain and/or life-cycle cost do you consider should be covered by tariffs and where do you consider taxes or transfers should be used?
The sanitation value chain looks at the following components:
a. Capture
b. Containment
c. Emptying
d. Transport
e. Treatment
f. Safe re-use/disposal
Looking at these components, treatment needs a combination of both taxes and transfers

In Uganda’s context, emptying is shared by both government and private sector. So, this is covered by tariffs. However, it has been noted that some of the emptiers from the private sector do not abide by the regulations. To cut corners and maximize profits, they dump the sludge in swamps and ungazetted sites which has had effects on the environment.

2. Why should those costs be covered by taxes and/or transfers in your view? How is this the “best use of public money”?
For treatment taxes and transfers should cover it because of the infrastructure and skills requirements

Regards,

Chemisto Satya Ali
Advisor, Rural Sanitation and Behavior Change Communication
USAID/Uganda Sanitation for Health Activity (USHA)

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  • nadirakhawaja
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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

Dear All,

My name is Nadira and I work with SNV Nepal. The question below has gotten some very interesting responses. First, I wanted to add, I agree with Marc that sanitation services that directly reach the premises, should be paid for by tariffs at the premises level (on-site construction/sewer connection, FS emptying, SW collection etc.) while taking into account pro-poor mechanisms. The sanitation tax is a great initiative for financing investments for infrastructure construction. While it is rarely seen applied at the city level (Jenaidah example) in developing countries, it is increasingly used at the settlement level (e.g. in planned housing estates) in many cities. I also think Dorai’s point about considering public vs private goods is very relevant to decide where to invest with taxes and transfers. I however think we always need to consider the long-term implications of subsidy at the individual/premises level (especially in places where subsidy mind-set and waiting for government to do everything is heavily enculturated- e.g. Nepal). I think, rather, other means of promoting better onsite technologies (to protect environment/public health) should be used such as tax breaks, rewards for early adopter and other such incentives etc. mixed with fines and other such penalties etc.

1) How do you assess the financial health of the sanitation services in a city? (your city) What do you take into account in terms of life-cycle costs and along the sanitation value chain?
Financial health of sanitation services from a city perspective is very difficult to measure because of the many entities involved along the value chain and because finances and management are strongly intertwined (example of electricity company of Nepal- good management changed the financial health). Even though we did an assessment with both government and private sector service providers on financial viability of FS emptying and transport services last year, it is very difficult to get an accurate/truthful picture. The municipal government doesn’t openly share financial data (and finances for sanitation are not ring-fenced) and private sector service providers don’t share details because they don’t want to show profit (to avoid taxes). Hence, it very difficult to do a break down item-wise for life-cycle costs and do any cost-benefit analysis. Practically, it may be more suitable to look at proxy indicators. If private sector service providers continue to provider services for a number of years while following minimums standards, then they are most likely a financially viable service that can also re-invest in their equipment/assets (e.g. in Surkhet one FS emptier has been giving good FS emptying service for a few years and his truck is well maintained, whereas the SW collector is not able to fulfil his collection schedule because he under-bid for the contract and cannot recover even his basic operation costs). Similarly, the operational status and level of service of public infrastructure/services provide an indication of their financial health (and good management)

2) Which parts of the sanitation value chain and/or life-cycle cost do you consider should be covered by tariffs and where do you consider taxes or transfers should be used?
Tariffs for direct services at the individual/premises level (with pro-poor support mechanism/equity considerations) – creates ownership, maintenance
Taxes to support public good considerations along the value chain that come after the premises (environment and public health interest) and to support equity considerations at the premises level
Transfers – for infrastructure investment outside the premises level where tax base is weak. Within transfers, repayable finance should only be used where the political environment is conducive for long-term planning for repayment (e.g. Manila Water), otherwise it will quickly become bad debt.

Thank you.
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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

This contribution is from Fred Lyimo from Arusha, Tanzania:

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WASH services in Arusha City, is way below the required standard or even the intended target
Sanitation services are taken care of by the water supply authority, which is responsible for the collection, transmission and treatment of the sludge discharge from the households, industries and parastatals inside the city boundaries.
To make that possible, Arusha WSSA is required to build and maintain sanitation infrastructures (Water network, sewerage network, waste stabilization ponds etc)

However, due to its investment nature (High cost of investment), Arusha WSSA cannot fully surface Investment in the sanitation infrastructure; that’s is why a small percentage of CBD is covered by the sewerage network (about 7.6%), Most o the people in the urban and peri-urban population build their septic tanks and do away with their sewer. (as they consider this to be the cheapest means unlike conventional sewer systems which they will be required to pay for sewerage line connection).
Besides, the city council has in place number of onsite toilets in the public areas (Although these are not sufficiently spread in the area.)
There are private sewer removals operators who charge for septic dislodge and transport the sewer to the treatment ponds owned by the WSSA. There are licensed by the city council.

In my opinion, life-cycle costs along the sanitation value chain should include all the costs from the investments in WASH infrastructures, desludging, transportation of waste and treatment and even further to the re-use. However, this might not be the case in Arusha. Sometimes to have accurate data on the costs along the chain is challenging, most of the information on WASH will centre on the capital costs invested in the infrastructures.

I would like to hear the experience in other areas.

Fred

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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

The following contribution is by Kambole A Mwambazi from Zambia:

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Contributions/response to the following discussion questions

2) Which parts of the sanitation value chain and/or life-cycle cost do you consider should be covered by tariffs and where do you consider taxes or transfers should be used?
3) Why should those costs be covered by taxes and/or transfers in your view? How is this the “best use of public money”?


Responses to the above discussion questions:

2. The following costs should be covered by tariffs:
Chemicals costs for treatment, personnel costs and primary business operations on day to day basis.
The following should be covered by the taxes and transfers:
Infrastructure/Assets which shall support the business as part of capital

3. Why should these costs be covered by taxes and/or transfers in your view . How is this the ‘’best use of public money’’?
These funds will the make best use due to following reasons;
-The funds will be used in building/acquisition of assets for supply of services and revenue generation
-Ownership of these assets shall be retained by state through shareholding if funded by taxes or transfers as grant to a utility upon satisfying certain conditions (because transfers contain conditions should be met before recognition of such as assets).
-Implementing delegated government agenda in provision of sanitation services to the public.

I submit.

Kambole A Mwambazi Zica Tech
Management Accountant
Chambeshi Water And Sewerage Company
P.O Box 410397
Kasama

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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

The following contribution was sent by Horácio from Mozambique:

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Dear all,

This is Horácio Quembo from SNV Mozambique.
We have experiences from 35 Towns of Mozambique with per urban Water and sanitation program. My contributions below.

1) How do you assess the financial health of the sanitation services in a city? (your city) What do you take into account in terms of life-cycle costs and along the sanitation value chain?

During almost 40 years, the issue of sanitation is not “priority” in Mozambique. The word sanitation in Mozambique in city mean removal of solid waste. Now with the involvement of many stakeholders, the scenarios seems to change. At National level, we have National Directorate of Water and Sanitation (DNA), with the objective of coordinating all efforts and Administration of Infrastructure of Water and Sanitation (AIAS), for small towns. The responsibility of sanitation is of the Municipalities or Local Government. The budget allocated for sanitation is limited (minimum), and also the technical capacity installed to deal with sanitation aspects is also limited. Private sector is emerging to do something. But, the willingness to pay for community side is Low. We have some challenges.

2) Which parts of the sanitation value chain and/or life-cycle cost do you consider should be covered by tariffs and where do you consider taxes or transfers should be used?

Big investments in relation to the infrastructures, should be covered by taxes or transfers. Operation and Maintenance costs of these infrastructures should be covered by tariffs., because this service is continuously despite the requirements of personal with good technical capacity, material, etc. Families, companies and other stakeholders must contribute for the sustainability of the service and infrastructures by paying and actively monitoring the functionality of all value chain.

3) Why should those costs be covered by taxes and/or transfers in your view? How is this the “best use of public money”?
These services are important and the first responsible to keep the services working is the Government using money from Taxes, tariffs or transfers. In my opinion, this money can also be used for development of policies, creating incentives for the involvement of private sector. The best use of public money is to guaranty that the services in all life-cycle are working and in good standards.

Greetings from Mozambique
Horácio Quembo

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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

The following contribution was sent by Ika from Indonesia:

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Dear all,

My name is Ika Yuniarti. I work for the Regional Development Planning Agency of Metro City Government, Lampung Province, Indonesia.
In Metro City, commonly there are three main sources for financing sanitation: national budget funding (APBN), special grant allocations from the national budget to local governments (DAK), and local government budgets (APBD). Currently, most central government funding is likely to remain the major source of financing. Although both national and local budget allocations for sanitation have risen since 2016, it still falls short of the actual requirements to significantly increase sanitation services. Not enough budget to cover fixed costs, inadequate or aging infrastructure and insufficient funds for operations and maintenance adversely affect sanitation service.

Like most cities in Indonesia, Metro City currently relies almost entirely on septic tanks for wastewater treatment. The Environment Department (Dinas Lingkungan Hidup) is responsible for arranging septic tank sludge emptying services and management of Sludge Treatment Plant (IPLTs). With only a limited number of trucks, the sludge collected and then treated at the IPLTs. The tariff for septic tank emptying service based on the customer category. Tariff, from the highest to the lowest one, divided into :
- tariff for commercial business such as hotel, office, etc = Rp 225.000/tank
- tariff for public facilities such as a terminal, = Rp 205.000/tank
- tariff for households = Rp 185.000/tank
- tariff for social facilities such as school, orphanage = Rp 150.000/tank

My contributions to the following questions:

1. How do you assess the financial health of the sanitation services in a city? (your city) What do you take into account in terms of life-cycle costs and along the sanitation value chain?

From my point of view, sanitation service provision is more likely to be impacted by significant constraints including unclear institutional frameworks, and consumer willingness-to-pay; and require a greater level of extent support, adaptation for new service delivery models to develop and become sustainable.

There is a need to assess and consider alternative approaches to wastewater tariffs such as the introduction of a 'polluters pay' policy or including a sanitation fee as part of the water supply or power charges. Demand by the community for wastewater management needs to be increased by an improved focus on service delivery, awareness campaigns to promote behavior change and appropriate tariff structures.

2. Which parts of the sanitation value chain and/or life-cycle cost do you consider should be covered by tariffs and where do you consider taxes or transfers should be used? Why should those costs be covered by taxes and/or transfers in your view? How is this the "best use of public money"?
Regular day-to-day operations and intermittent maintenance should be covered by tariffs. The initial investment, replacement, and asset renewal or major activities required at relatively long time intervals, such as repairs and replacements of aging infrastructure elements should be covered by taxes or transfers.

The initial investment, replacement, and asset renewal are usually too high to be covered by tariffs. These need to be covered by tax or transfers. The benefits received by the city and national levels should be borne from taxes. However, it is needed for governments to accept that they cannot provide complete coverage and must collaborate with the private sector to address this gap. In many cases, the public sector water and sanitation service providers seek support to overcome the challenges facing them. Struggling to operate old systems while satisfying increasing demands for better or expanded service requires access to expertise not immediately available. Public-private partnerships (PPP) can be an important option for implementing sector reform strategies and can address the key challenges in providing universal and sustainable service access.

Regards,

Ika Yuniarti

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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

This posting is from Getachew in Rwanda:

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Dear All,

My name is Getachew Belaineh from SNV Rwanda. Though in Rwanda, SNV has no urban sanitation program so far, I want to share what is going on in urban sanitation and keen to learn from your experiences and reflections.

Background

According to reshaping urbanization in Rwanda, Economic and Spatial Trends and Proposals note #4 of World bank Group 2017, the wastewater and solid waste management sub‐sector levels of service are consistent with cities that (i) are relatively small, (ii) have generally low‐density development, and (iii) exhibit low levels of consumption, which means limited water consumption (and thus low volumes of wastewater generation) and relatively low volumes of solid waste production. The current urban sanitation systems, which rely on septic tanks and soakways or pit latrines, will require further improvement as urban densities and water consumption increase. Investment from government treasury and development partners need to be made in septic sludge collection and treatment systems, and eventually in sewerage and sewage treatment and/or recycle/reuse value chains.

In addition to FSM, there is only partial collection of solid waste, most of which is disposed in rudimentary land fill sites. Investment is needed for solid waste management across the value chain to improve collection systems and disposal facilities, as the environmental hazards associated with uncollected and improperly disposed of waste will intensify as waste volumes increase with larger and more prosperous urban populations.
That said, here are my reflections for questions 2 &3.

2) Which parts of the sanitation value chain and/or life-cycle cost do you consider should be covered by tariffs and where do you consider taxes or transfers should be used?
Life-cycle costs are the full costs of delivering adequate WASH services to a specific population in a particular geographic area—not just for a few years but indefinitely. These costs include construction and maintenance of systems in the short and longer term, taking into account the need for hardware and software capital expenditure, including infrastructure, operations, short-term and long-term maintenance, capital maintenance, cost of capital and direct and indirect support (e.g., training, planning and institutional support). A significant element of the approach is understanding that sanitation costs can be compared and properly assessed only against particular levels of service, measured by accessibility, use, reliability and environmental protection. From these Life-cycle costs, operation costs require transfers/subsidies or taxes. In Rwanda, the initial investment for construction of waste treatment plants in Kigali and three secondary cities were supported by transfers or subsidies but operationalization is becoming difficult. From the sanitation value chain elements, emptying and transport could be covered by tariffs whereas treatment and reuse/disposal demand governmental transfers or taxes in order to meet ongoing operations. The sanitation services gaining greater financial independence would be by reducing its reliance on government transfers or subsidies. However, weak performance incentives, low willingness of customers to pay cost recovery tariffs, and insufficient funding for maintenance, ultimately leading to a deterioration of sanitation infrastructures and a squandering of financial resources.

3) Why should those costs be covered by taxes and/or transfers in your view? How is this the “best use of public money”?

As the emptying and transport requires relatively a minimum cost to treatment and reuse/disposal which demand higher operation and maintenance costs. These costs are likely to be covered by all segments of the population including ‘Ubudehe’ 1 and 2 categories. Hence, emptying and transport costs can be covered by minimum tariffs which could be included in the bills of water utilities.

Regards,

Getachew

Head moderator of this discussion forum
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  • Patricia77
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  • I am Economist, with a Master's Degree in Management, Formulation and Evaluation of Development Projects. I have been coordinating programs for more than 10 years and currently with the leading water and sanitation sector in Honduras for SNV.
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Re: SNV e-group discussion TOPIC 1: What do we see as sustainable cost recovery in city wide sanitation services?

Dear all,

Greetings from Central America. My name is Patricia Solórzano, I’m working in SNV as SL in WASH for Honduras and Nicaragua. It’s a pleasure to share with you the following comments on topic 1:

How do you assess the financial health of the sanitation services in a city? (Your city) What do you take into account in terms of life-cycle costs and along the sanitation value chain?

In Honduras, providers in at least 71 cities reach an average service coverage of 95% in water and 84% in sanitation. In most of these cities, peri-urban providers operate (usually Water Management Boards) that contribute to reducing the deficit of water service coverage. Sanitation coverage is complemented by individual solutions available on site for each user. In both cases there are no adequate records to project national sanitation coverage, but it is estimated that 70% of the infrastructure is obsolete (poor conditions), and only a third of the wastewater discharged by the treatment systems performs the disinfection process, which surely represents a high burden of pathogenic microorganisms the environment, especially discharged by those systems of domestic wastewater treatment. This is partly due to the fact that the costs of the tariff do not cover the part of the sanitation, therefore it is not possible to provide adequate maintenance or replacement of the infrastructure when required.

Which parts of the sanitation value chain and/or life-cycle cost do you consider should be covered by tariffs and where do you consider taxes or transfers should be used?

The subsidies that are basically covered by tax / transfers, should be in relation to the infrastructure and its maintenance, since it requires a higher cost and qualified personnel which is not generally found in water companies, only at a basic level in some cases. Then, what has to do with the technical costs of the workforce that operates the facilities, as well as what it incurs in the treatment of the same, and finally the administrative costs should be part of the rate that families pay, companies, etc.
Based on the fact that the financial sustainability of a service depends on the payment of the fee, mode of accounting and delinquency. If there is a certain level of financial sustainability, it is easier to ensure technical sustainability that includes monitoring and technical assistance once the infrastructure works are completed.

Why should those costs be covered by taxes and/or transfers in your view? How is this the “best use of public money”?

I will start from the fact that in the region the issue of sanitation is not a priority, with the exception of The Salvador where currently the government with state funds is investing in restoring the sanitation infrastructure. That said, a strong advocacy process must be done at the public and private level to encourage investment in the sector, since by not building new aqueducts it has an impact on: Urban Development, Economic Activity, Social Welfare and Security. Sanitation systems must become a key component of natural resource management for sustainable development.

The costs that should be covered is everything related to infrastructure, vehicles, and technical maintenance by qualified personnel. The issue of raising public awareness that this is a priority is the fact that governments have a responsibility to establish new approaches in internalization and creation policies that allow adequate legal environments and incentives, therefore, the best use of public money It can be in guaranteeing an efficient service in terms of sanitation infrastructure. Private companies can play a role by adopting and promoting innovative water efficiency solutions and technologies that can be replicated.

Best,

Patricia

Patricia Solórzano
SNV | Leader Sector WASH, Honduras-Nicaragua
Cel. (504) 31869610
Telf. (504) 2239-6938
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