Thematic Consultation on Water in the post-2015 development agenda - need WG10 input


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  • Bincy
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Re: Thematic Consultation on Water in the post-2015 development agenda - need WG10 input

Thank you for the forum. We being working in urban public sanitation, is more inclined towards #3 and pls. see some suggestions.

The Thematic consultation is relevant in our context, because there are over 3000 users per day, using our e-toilets across various location in Kerala and each person uses approx. 4 litres of water for each toilet use, which adds up to 12,000 litres per month. If this is the case with our e-toilets which uses minimal water, we wonder how much of water will be wasted away, by sheer negligence on part of all of us working in the sector including the technology providers, authorities, civil society and the communities at large. Though these toilets are dispersed at various locations, we have identified the need for identifying the most efficient conservation techniques so that water is used to the bare minimum without compromising on the cleanliness and hygiene of the e-toilets.
As practitioners we suggest that there can be three ways of addressing water a. conserving whatever is ought to be used and b. recycling the used water d. replenishing the water reserves.

1. A call to all Governments to stop setting up centralized sewage plants but to make it mandatory for all households to install decentralized sewage networks: Given the overall sanitation situation in India and developing nations elsewhere, there is a need to promote decentralized initiatives in waste water treatment by providing incentives and a supporting policy environment and through capacity building of implementing institutions and stake holders. Further, there is a need to support implementation of pilots and projects which demonstrate not only the decentralized and low-cost treatment of wastewater, but also demonstrate how communities and local administration can partner to implement the interventions in ways that make the facilities more durable and sustainable in the long run. The decentralized sewage systems also presents an opportunity to change the mind-set in the waste management sector away from “flush and forget” systems to recycling in the form of “waste to resource” systems thus aspiring to conserve and optimize all natural resources such as water.

How this can be achieved: There are a quite a number of grass root level innovations which are facing hardships in terms of scaling up mainly due to financial crunch. Such innovations which can provide effective decentralized STP solutions need to be promoted by the Civil

society, NGOs and the Governments alike. This will nurture in a sector which would prompt local innovations, community participation and more responsible society which cares for their precious resources. Global knowledge support and mentoring may be extended to such innovators to scale up their operations and explore avenues at a global scale.

2. To standardize the output rate of taps to cut down water flow rate: A water hose running at full volume uses 2000 litres of water per hour. Brushing teeth twice a day with the tap running can use over 4,000 litres per person per year. A dripping tap can waste about 20,000 litres of water per year. A running tap can use between 9 and 20 litres of water per minute.

Here, NGOs, communities and civil societies have a key role to play in fostering a culture of water saving vix. reduce water usage to less than normal levels. The Government can take actions to create water efficient homes and public places with water saving kits consisting of thimbles (to reduce water flow from taps), cistern water saving bags, leaflets on installation procedures and water conservation tips. Standards can be established in the output rate of taps in households, commercial establishments and industries.

How to achieve: National standards to be established for flow rates through taps used in wash basins, kitchens, showers etc. This need to be insisted upon. Similarly, awareness creation about smart usage of water is a necessity. This can be implemented by field level interventions by NGOs through street plays, roadshows, videoclips, leaflets.

3. To advocate programmes for river management/ saving including River Basin Management, Recharge technologies, water shed management etc: Effective river management must take into account the relationships, interaction and impact that some water users have on each other. Where water is scarce, conflict may arise. More intense farming methods and aggressive use of pesticides upstream may mean less water and lower water quality downstream. An integrated, effective river basin management approach should therefore balance a river basin's functions and the costs they entail. For this to happen, users must be involved in the decision-making and management process. There are anecdotal evidences of a number of sole water sources like rivers which are severely polluted at source itself. Fr such cases, there need to be a concerted effort to reclaim the notability of such water bodies.

How to achieve: There are globally several technologies available for river management and recharging, but however, they remain inaccessible to local communities mainly due to cost factor and complexities of technologies. There need to be world-wide forum to exchange such technologies across nations. There is also a problem with such water bodies being the asset of states and NGOs have limited powers to intervene. But these can be addressed with the authorities are taken into confidence by awareness creation and sensitization. Moreover, ownership of communities to ensure that their water bodies are protected also need to be inculcated.

4. To announce specific R&D programmes for desalination of water and cleaning of water- promotion of surface water Purification technologies: In order to curb environmental imbalances due to excessive water usage from the freshwater sources and at the same time the need for providing an alternative form of water source is vital. Herein comes desalination, which offers an excellent solution in solving the problems of the present and promises a unique and more feasible solution for the future. The Government can analyze the available water desalination technologies and their costs as well as their environmental impacts. The economic feasibility of applying desalinated water in agriculture, specifically for irrigation can also be done.

5. Classify grades for water reuse at commercial levels- potable, non potable- safe for reuse etc. as green/ red logos similar to those on packaged food items: This classification can depend on the level of treatment it has received, and specifies the maximum concentrations of specific contaminants consistent with each grade. This steps will help people to remove the stigma associated with recycled water and to promote household / individual level usage of recycled water.

6. Incentivize water reuse at households as subsidy for cooking gas, diesel etc.-water saved is water earned. This would encourage households to adopt cheaper methods for reuse of water and the water cycle is well balanced at the household level itself.

7. Promote reclaiming necessary minerals from waste water eg. Urea from sewage waste etc

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  • Ian
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Re: Thematic Consultation on Water in the post-2015 development agenda - need WG10 input

Thank you Jennifer for bringing this to our attention. The topics listed under #3 are extremely relevant to developing countries and unless we address these more effectively, we will be providing improved sanitation at one level (household), but impacting very negatively on both the human and ecoilogical environment through neglect of the impacts of the wastes produced and cutting costs.

Urban environments are particularly vulnerable and wastewater needs to be managed at a number of levels. Firstly at household and community level, the problems with leaking or blocked sewers, inadequate disposal facilities, poor maintenance of household facilities and general ignorance of sanitary practice will increasing lead to an environment where not only direct contact with contaminated wastes is an everyday occurance with its associated risks, but also leads to the creation of an environment where rodents and insect vectors proliferate and spread secondary diseases. These will be exacerbated in dense urban settlements and as a result of weather extremes resulting from climate change.

local authorities will continue to pay poor attention to these issues unless there are measurable incentives for them to direct sufficient funds and resources to these problems. Some of the focus points needed in post 2015 to counteract the trends towards increasing treatment and management of urban wastewater flows are:

local, regional and national incentives for proper wastewater management
exploitation of resources that can be generated from wastewater (e.g. irrigation water, fertilizers, soil conditioners,...)
development and implementation of improved passive treatment technologies
SMME development for the maintenance of sewers and passive wastewater treatment systems (job creation)
coupling of WASH awareness programmes with action plans that address wastewater management challenges
establishment of effective community-based sanitary surveillance programmes (that are integrated into municipal wastewater management programmes)

These are some initial thoughts - there is much to be said but we do need to focus on the post 2015 priority challenges.
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  • Godwin
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Re: Thematic Consultation on Water in the post-2015 development agenda - need WG10 input

First of all there is need to define ownership of WASH services. Secondly, is who feels the pinch when WASH fails or when is not there.

Worth noting that WASH seem to be more of a sector issue that development issue. In most of the national development plans I have read, governments in developing countries have mentioned WASH sometimes without outlining realistic terms which mechanisms will be employed for its achievement.

First, Governments should outline national sector plans for scaling up and meet targets. Second, decentralised sector plans should be outlined at intermediate level. Third, community level sector plans should be put into consideration. Will this involve micro-monitoring? The answer is Yes. More focussed sector investments should address such initiatives. In factor that's what donors should focus on to bring governments to be more accountable if at all they are serious.

All sector plans should go along with clear roles and responsibilities as a governance measure. Local governments should own and be seen to feel the pinch. Civil society organisations should do the lobbying and advocacy. Community leaders should be accountable by ensuring that their communities have access to WASH services.

WASH should be treated as such. Much is that people demand for water simply means water is politically a powerful tool than sanitation and hygiene. In fact sanitation promotion, should receive more funding from donors and leave water for governments. This is to create political pressure for governments to respond.
WASH Specialist - Consultant

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  • jlgreen228
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Thematic Consultation on Water in the post-2015 development agenda - need WG10 input

You may have noticed some discussions going on about the Thematic Consultation on Water in the Post-2015 development agenda. It's a UN-system led "global dialogue" comprising of 50-100 Country Consultations and eleven global Thematic Consultations, including one on water (which includes sanitation).

Each SuSanA WG has been asked to compile comments to contribute to the dialog at There are three thematic sub-consultations for Water: 1) Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); 2)Water resources and 3)Wastewater management and water quality. For WG10/O&M, either #1 or #3 is applicable.

For #1 (WASH) the week long themes are:
Week 1 : Aspirational Objectives of the Joint Monitoring Program (14-21 Jan.)
Week 2 : WASH in Schools (21-28 Jan.)
Week 3 : WASH and Governance: People, Power and Politics (28 Jan. – 4 Feb.)
Week 4 : WASH and Environmental Sustainability (4-11 Feb.)
Week 5 : WASH and Economic Development (11-17 Feb.)

For #3 (Wastewater management and water quality) they are:
Week 1: Wastewater in an urbanizing world (14-21 Jan.)
Week 2: Impact of wastewater on oceans-nitrogen & phosphorous challenge (21-27 Jan.)
Week 3: Wastewater reuse-development, innovation (28 Jan.-3 Feb.)
Week 4: Collecting and treating urban water after use (4-10 Feb.)
Week 5: Economic opportunities in wastewater (11-17 Feb.)

Given the timing, it may make sense to focus the WG10 response on #3 in the next couple of weeks and stress: the importance of planning and funding long-term servicing of sanitation facilities as part of the initial project; ensuring that the local skill base is prepared to continue O&M after the pilot phases are completed; and to work together with the private sector, municipal governments and household users to develop sustainable business models for service provision.

Please contribute your thoughts here and then Guenter and I will compile the inputs and submit to the sub-consultation, along with the other SuSanA WGs.
Jennifer Green, MIT
WG10 Co-lead
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