WG6 Cities and planning - overview of sanitation planning approaches (factsheet)

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Re: Lets not be too biased in the factsheet on cities and planning...?

With his permission, I am posting the reply of Sören Rüd here (he was one of the authors of the original factsheet, and since 3 years works for GIZ in Mexico on solid waste issues.(by EvM)
+++++++++++

Hi Elisabeth,

sorry – short answer as I am quite busy with a lot of other things.

Generally I am in favor of smoothening some aspects of the factsheet (especially about criticism of general sewer systems), however, I fear that the factsheet will lose its special “sustainable sanitation” connotations. So better keep criticizing in general unsustainable aspects of sanitation city planning (might be flush toilets + sewers in case of water shortage / too expensive for suburban areas or might be septic tanks if groundwater is affected or lacking sludge mgmt., etc.).
Unfortunately I don´t have a clue about the new planning tools (CLUES, etc.) – if you´re interested in integrated waste management planning, I´ll gladly assist.

Regards,
Sören
Posted by a member of the SuSanA secretariat held by the GIZ Sector Program Water Policy – Innovations for Resilience
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Lets not be too biased in the factsheet on cities and planning...?

Dear Sunder and all,

Thanks for your insightful comments (which I am still pondering over)!
I am attaching the Word document of the factsheet here to this post (I have removed the photos for now to keep the file size low; the photos were anyway not that great, I think we need a few better ones).

Feel free to make edits to the factsheet, using the track changes function in Word.
The same invitation goes to others who wish to comment and contribute.
If many people comment, we will at the end attempt to merge everything back into one document. For now, just use the Word document below.

What makes these SuSanA factsheets so special is that they are multi-authored from many different organisations, so it is very important to give everyone the opportunity to contribute if they have knowledge/experience on the particular topic of the factsheet.

Kind regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
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  • sunder.s
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Re: Lets not be too biased in the factsheet on cities and planning...?

hmmm.... interesting points here.... let me have a go at throwing my own spanner into the works :P

On the question of flush toilets and centralized WWTPS -- I do agree with Elisabeth that it is indeed septic tanks and pit latrines that are the status quo. This is largely because governments/local governments in most cases have/had not prioritised systematised sanitation on a city-wide scale in the first place, leaving individuals and households to go in for an on-site option.

On the question of what Elisabeth calls "demonizing" WWTPs -- I think part of the problem lies with how choices are arrived at in urban local bodies that deploy these systems and who makes these choices. I suspect you will find that in most cases, these are driven by the fact that these are made by civil engineers who have been trained in a particular way -- i.e., to think that centralized WWTPS are the only way to go. This is certainly true of most planning processes in developing nation/emerging economy contexts -- people don't start with the analyzing the context and considering what technical options or mix thereof may best suit the context -- they have simply not trained to think beyond WWTPs!!

The bit on India and the CRSP is certainly erroneous (or wrongly worded to be precise) and must go. The problem with the earliest version of the CRSP was that unlike the current Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) which has been widely made known, it was not communicated widely; therefore, a limited number of people in the know (and who had the right connections!!) could successfully corner the available subsidies and build toilets. So to say that "the only potential customers....." is incorrect. That said, this factsheet is about urban sanitation -- so the reference to the CRSP, which targeted rural areas -- can be removed altogether.

On the bit about Masterplans -- this is a mixed bag. Typically, mastersplans, for example, in the Indian (and I suspect in many other countries as well) are anything but!! They are terrific documents -- unfortunately, the authorities that produce these are rarely the same as those that are in-charge of designing and implementing sanitation or other urban systems, and one finds that in many cases, local governments such as municipalities have very little synch with the town/city-planners who produce masterplans, and often, they don't even see eye-to-eye.

I'd be happy to volunteer my time on the fact sheet, if you haven't already found someone else.

Cheers,

Sunder
Sunder Subramanian
International Development and Infrastructure Advisor/Consultant
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DLF City Phase 1,
Gurgaon 122002
India

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Re: Lets not be too biased in the factsheet on cities and planning...?

(ooops, I forgot to log out from Susana Forum (Admin) and post under my own name, Elisabeth von Muench)
++++++++++++++

Dear all,

I am suggesting that the factsheet of WG 6 (which was written in 2008) could do with a minor revision/update (e.g. we could have in the box on page 1 as a date still November 2008 but in brackets “minor changes in November 2011). The reason why I got on to this now is because we are in the process of compiling a SuSanA factsheet book with all the 13 factsheets which we want to promote widely and prominently.

And thus, we are re-visiting all of the 13 factsheets, some are actually undergoing major revisions as we speak (those of WG 1, 2, 5, 7b, 8, 9a and 9b). I think the factsheet of WG 6 is still good (given that it is a few years old by now), but even here a little bit of work is needed in my opinion.

Here you can see a little announcement I had made about this compilation of factsheets recently:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/69-rel...-input-still-welcome

(we are currently aiming for a deadline of 20 Nov, although had to shift this already once, as some of the WGs have a lot of energy and are working on their factsheets right now)

So I have some queries to the authors and some small suggestions for change. Rather than just discussing it with the 7 authors by e-mail, I would like to make it broader, giving everyone from WG 6 and beyond a chance to comment. Anyone with some experience on sanitation in cities planning can chip in! (ideally with concrete text changes or additions in order to make it easier for us, rather than just very general suggestions)

This is a reminder of what the factsheet currently looks like:
www.susana.org/lang-en/library?view=ccbktypeitem&type=2&id=102

So here are my specific comments and queries:

Last sentence of first paragraph on p. 1:

The daunting task of improving global access to sanitation is complicated by a growing consensus that conventional approaches - flush toilets connected to centralized wastewater treatment plants that dispose into local waterways - are economically and environmentally unsustainable (SuSanA, 2007).

--> this is demonising treatment plants unnecessarily and will alienate some people from SuSanA.

First bullet point in box on p. 1

Top-down, supply-driven planning epitomized by the “Master Plan” continues to dominate much of sectoral planning in the developing world. The resulting capital-intensive solutions tend to be costly, energy-intensive and inflexible, failing to reach large proportions of the new slum poor.

--> This is demonising the master plans and the centralised treatment plants. I know e.g. that back then, the German Development Bank KfW was quite unhappy about this sentence and would have liked to see it changed.

First bullet point in second column on p. 2

Centralized sewer-based solutions carry with them a technology lock-in, have high capital, operation and maintenance costs, and are energy intensive to run.

--> again, let's not demonise them. They also have a place.

Pictures on p. 3
Figure 1a: Defunct sewage treatment system, Kumasi, Ghana from the 1970s Figure b: Incomplete donor-funded latrinisation programme, Mauritania, 2004
--> it is easy to show broken down treatment plants and abandoned pit latrines. There is no long-term proof yet that sanitation systems planned with the 3 planning tools described in the factsheet will do any better. If we leave them in then we need to know the source of the photos. I could equally add photos of abandoned UDDTs...

First paragraph on p. 3 about the Indian Centrally Sponsored Rural Sanitation Programme

The only potential customers were upper-income land owners living in large permanent dwellings and only a handful of influential local figures had these toilets built for them at the state’s expense. (Black & Fawcett, 2008)

--> surely it was more than a handful of people??

Page 3 bottom of first column:

The three planning approaches discussed here are:
• The Strategic Sanitation Approach, 1994 (WSP);
• Household-Centred Environmental Sanitation, 2005 (WSSCC/Eawag)
• Sanitation 21, 2005 (IWA)

--> I would like to know: how long they have been used in practice by now especially the HCES and Sanitation 21? HCES has now been further developed into CLUES, see below.
---> Was the Strategic Sanitation Approach of World Bank also used elsewhere? Was it abandoned? When?

P. 4 Second paragraph in the second column:

Program management is usually assured by local NGOs or locally-based research institutions and backstopping is provided by Eawag-Sandec. In most cases municipal officers are also involved but not as process drivers.

--> sounds odd to me in such a generalised statement. Are you saying municipalities should not be involved as a driver and that it should rather be local NGOs and research institutions in Europe? Surely this was just the case for the pilot project but is not the right approach for scaling-up.

Further simplification of HCES is required to be valid as a non-expert-driven process that can be applied in a multi-stakeholder environment.

--> And this led to CLUES?

In the section on Sanitation 21:

However, unlike the previous examples, since it is a planning framework, it does not provide in-depth guidance for planners and operators.

--> I don't understand this sentence.

Sanitation 21 has not yet been tested on the ground.

--> this needs to be updated, as it has been tested by now, yes?

Aim for closed-loop solutions
Waste should be considered as a resource and its re-use should be encouraged from the very start of any planning process; e.g. greywater re-use and production of biogas, liquid fertiliser or soil conditioner, urine separation or composting as well as other options that minimize the export of waste flows, are less energy intensive and entail lower capital and operation costs. Experience shows that the testing of pilot technologies can be the first step in convincing users about safety, advantages and convenience.


--> I see no convincing argument here why closed-loop solutions should be aimed for. Should we not rather say aim for the most sustainable solution in each context? Are we glorifying reuse too much without being able to prove that it leads to better results in cities?

Be realistic about the complexity of sanitation interventions
Unresponsive institutions and the technical challenge of providing affordable and manageable sanitation solutions for dense, informal habitats have been the main reasons for low coverage so far. To move forward, initiatives should go for the ‘unbundling of interventions’: breaking the plan into projects that can be implemented separately and incrementally. There is a trade-off to make between short term ‘quick fix’ solutions versus long term closed-loop infrastructure improvements.


--> I think the two reasons given are too limited. How about the major issue of unclear tenure? How about financing issues?
---> And in the last sentence it talks again about "closed loop infrastructure" without being able to prove that this is better (don't get me wrong, I also like reuse! But I think in this planning factsheet, it needs to unnecessary bias).

To bring urban sanitation coverage to scale, new innovative tools must be adopted and applied in a context-specific way, for example social marketing, total sanitation campaigns and public-private partnerships.

--> This is the last sentence and comes across as an afterthought. These things, if they are important for planning, should be integrated earlier into the factsheet (and we could just make a reference to factsheets 9a and 9b which deal with these topics).

I also felt that the factsheet kept saying that the status quo in sanitation systems planning for cities are centralised treatment plants. I would object and say that the status quo is rather septic tanks and pit latrines (for the majority of city dwellers in developing countries). So this is what we need to compare it to, and apply the planning tools to (i.e. more likely the on-site sanitation systems).

So now I am curious to see some feedback from everyone? If there is a volunteer to pull together various inputs, please feel free to step forward. Anyone who provides major input will have his/her name mentioned in the acknowledgements or could even become a co-author and get really famous! :woohoo:

Regards,
Elisabeth
Posted by a member of the SuSanA secretariat held by the GIZ Sector Program Water Policy – Innovations for Resilience
Located at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Bonn, Germany
Follow us on facebook: www.facebook.com/susana.org, linkedin: www.linkedin.com/company/sustainable-sanitation-alliance-susana and twitter: twitter.com/susana_org


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  • OlaHanserud
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Re: WG6 Cities and planning - overview of sanitation planning approaches

Hi Rahul,
I hope to be able to contribute at a later point, but unfortunately I have an application deadline for research funds coming up the 12th of October and think my days will be quite busy up until then..
Planning for sustainable sanitation in cities is however something that interests me, and I hope to work more with planning questions in the future and possibly also to get more involved in this working group.

Best,
Ola

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  • rahulingle
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Re: WG6 Cities and planning - overview of sanitation planning approaches

Attached is the latest version of the factsheet
Best regards,

Rahul Ingle

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Re: WG6 Cities and planning - overview of sanitation planning approaches

Hi Ola,

Thats a good idea. we were anyways planning to work towards updating the factsheet or the factsheet book. this can then also be updated. We are aiming to get the updated factsheet ready by mid of Oct. Do you think you could work with me and Christoph in updating the factsheet? Find attached the latest version of the factsheet.

cheers

Rahul
Best regards,

Rahul Ingle

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  • OlaHanserud
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WG6 Cities and planning - overview of sanitation planning approaches (factsheet)

Hi,
On the agenda document for WG6 at the 14th SuSanA meeting in Stockholm this August, it was listed a number of sanitation planning approaches (slide 5). Two of the approaches listed (OSP and CLUES) are not included in the fact sheet from November 2008, which presents a nice overview (p.6) of the main characteristics of three planning approaches. Could an updated fact sheet for WG6 include also OSP and CLUES in an informative table? Would be interesting to see what makes them different from the others and what they have in common.

Best regards,
Ola Stedje Hanserud
Bioforsk, Norway

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