Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up (4S), providing evidence-based policy recommendations (Eawag, in India and Nepal)

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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up (4S), providing evidence-based policy recommendations (Eawag, in India and Nepal)

Here is the description of a new grant Eawag/Sandec recently received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the area of monitoring and evaluation.

Title of grant: 4S: Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up

Name of lead organization: Eawag (The Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology)

Primary contact at lead organization: Dr. Christoph Lüthi

Grantee location: Dübendorf, Switzerland

Developing country where the research is being or will be tested: India and Nepal

Start and end date: October 2015 to July 2017 (extended until March 2018)

Grant type: (BMGF India)

Grant size in USD: $900,000

Short description of the project:
Eawag/Sandec is partnering with the Indian Institute of Technology (Chennai) and BORDA, Germany to carry out the first systematic assessment of small-scale sanitation systems in South Asia funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The main goal of the project is to provide evidence-based policy recommendations for improved system design and operation and maintenance (O&M) to inform strategic financial decision making and, thus, accelerate access to treatment of used water and sludge in South Asia.

Goal: The project seeks to provide sound empirical evidence for future small-scale sanitation sector investments in South Asia.

Objectives: The 19 month research project will incorporate three key elements:
  • Landscaping studies of small-scale sanitation systems in India and Nepal.
  • Detailed socio-economic evaluation, cost-benefit and Life Cycle Analysis of selected systems (including sampling campaigns).
  • Policy recommendations to improve the regulatory framework, system design implementation and O&M guidelines based on evaluation findings.
Research or implementation partners: BORDA Gerany, IIT Madras, ENPHO (Nepal) and NMBU (LCA Partner)

Links, further readings – results to date: www.sandec.ch/4S

Current state of affairs: Signing of MoU, Dec. 2015, Start-up: January, 2016.

Biggest successes so far: Not applicable, project just started.

Main challenges / frustration: Not applicable, project just started.

If you have any questions, please contact Christoph Lüthi, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

WG1 Co-lead
Developing methods and tools to support strategic planning for sustainable sanitation. Particular interested in novel technologies contributing to more inclusive and circular sanitation. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Grant on Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up (4S, Eawag, Switzerland and Nepal)

Dear Dorothee,

Thanks for informing us about this new grant.
I have two questions:
  1. What is your role in the project, how come you posted about it? Are you working as a consultant for them, perhaps?
  2. And what is meant exactly with "small-scale sanitation systems"? I see BORDA in the list of partners so I assume you're talking about their DEWATS (decentralised wastewater treatment system), is that correct? Why the name change to "small-scale" and what is the project's definition of "small"? Small in India might still mean 10,000 people whereas small in another country might mean 1,000 people?
Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Grant on Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up (4S, Eawag, Switzerland and Nepal)

Hi Elisabeth

What is your role in the project, how come you posted about it? Are you working as a consultant for them, perhaps?

I am linked as a researcher (not consultant) but not actively involved: As you know I am currently working as a PhD candidate at Eawag being part of two departments: Urban Water Management and Sandec. Within Sandec I am working with the SESP Group (Strategic Environmental Sanitation Planning), in particular with Christoph Lüthi, who is leading this project.

And what is meant exactly with "small-scale sanitation systems"? I see BORDA in the list of partners so I assume you're talking about their DEWATS (decentralised wastewater treatment system), is that correct? Why the name change to "small-scale" and what is the project's definition of "small"? Small in India might still mean 10,000 people whereas small in another country might mean 1,000 people?

Even though DEWATS systems will be investigated within this project (incl, but not excl. BORDA systems), the scope is kept larger. DEWATS refers generally to a particular set of technologies including e.g. ABR and wetlands. This project is meant to investigate different types of designs and outlines that might fulfill the same purpose of small-scale sanitation system. As mentioned below, the final goal is to develop evidence-based policy recommendations in order to inform strategic decisions making about sanitation systems (including collection and treatment services) in South Asia.
I do not have the exact definition of the technological scope (i.e. range of PE) of the project at hand. But I will ask Lukas Ulrich, who is coordinating this project to elaborate more on this question.

Cheers, Dorothee
WG1 Co-lead
Developing methods and tools to support strategic planning for sustainable sanitation. Particular interested in novel technologies contributing to more inclusive and circular sanitation. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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  • ulrichl
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Re: Grant on Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up (4S, Eawag, Switzerland and Nepal)

Dear Elisabeth

Thanks for your interest in our new project!
In addition to the information already provided by Dorothee, I can answer your question as follows:
As a starting point for this project, we define small-scale sanitation systems as systems serving from at least 10 households to a maximum of 5,000 inhabitants. I would definitely agree with you that this definition should be dealt with a bit flexibly, since - as you say - these boundaries do not necessarily make sense for all contexts.
The term "DEWATS" (DEcentralized WAstewater Treatment System)does not explicitly describe a specific technology, although very often people use it to talk about technologies like ABR, anaerobic filters, biogas sanitation and constructed wetlands. This, of course, has to do with the numerous well-known projects by BORDA and its partners who coined the term "DEWATS" for this kind of technologies in the last decades. In addition to this "branding", we know that experts often like to debate about when exactly a system is considered "decentralized" or "centralized", so these definitions are also a bit controversial.
The new evaluation project is supposed to be technologically neutral, i.e. we do not limit our scope to specific technologies, but rather the scale and context in which sanitation systems are applied. So, the classical "DEWATS" systems are definitely an important part of this evaluation (and we are partnering with BORDA/CDD for facilitated access to those installations), but other solutions we find in the field are included, too.
In order to reflect this also in our project title, we use the term "small-scale sanitation system".

Kind regards,
Lukas
Lukas Ulrich
Sanitation and Wastewater Management Consultant
Project Manager - Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up (4S) – www.sandec.ch/4S

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Re: Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up (4S), providing evidence-based policy recommendations (Eawag, in India and Nepal)

Dear colleagues

It’s time to share a brief progress update on the 4S project!
(Please see the attached factsheet for a project description.)

The 4S consortium has been busy gathering a lot of data on small-scale sanitation systems in South Asia over the past 1.5 years. This includes:
  • A landscape study of the small-scale sanitation sector in South Asia. A database of more than 9200 existing systems has been completed, and over 260 private companies active in the design, implementation and servicing of these units have been identified.
  • Basic assessment visits of more than 280 small-scale sanitation systems of a wide range of technologies, including 30 units in Nepal and 10 in Pakistan. This involves interviews with local stakeholders (managers, operators, users) and the inspection of the treatment systems using a checklist. Thereby, information on the design, operation, management, financing, acceptance and performance of systems is collected.
  • Sampling campaigns of more than 30 installations. Three rounds of composite sampling during 24 h (inlet and outlet) are organised for each system, permitting understanding of the variations in treatment performance.
  • Stakeholder interviews for an institutional analysis, focusing on current frameworks and required institutional arrangements for the effective management of small-scale sanitation systems.
  • Data collection for a financial analysis, which includes the compilation of capital and operating costs for key technologies at various sizes, as well as an analysis of the financial implications of different management models.
The organisation of site visits for basic assessments proved to be more time-consuming than scheduled. Particularly, in the case of privately owned and managed systems in India, contacting owners, organising interviews and obtaining access to systems has been a key obstacle. In view of this challenge, the project received an extension until March 2018. As part of this extension, the detailed performance analysis through sampling campaigns has been expanded to a total of 40 systems.

A more detailed report on our field work will be published in the forthcoming Sandec News (available here before the end of August 2017).

As we wrap up the data collection, we have started the data analysis phase. Once the results are ready, they will be presented and discussed in a final dissemination event in India at the end of the project.

If you are interested in the findings and conclusions of this study, please subscribe to this thread. Further updates will be posted here (and of course on our website www.sandec.ch/4S ) once the reports and publications are out.

With kind regards,

Lukas on behalf of the 4S crew


Note by moderator: See also this discussion thread: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/compar...nd-contacts-in-india
Lukas Ulrich
Sanitation and Wastewater Management Consultant
Project Manager - Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up (4S) – www.sandec.ch/4S

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  • CWendland
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Re: Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up (4S), providing evidence-based policy recommendations (Eawag, in India and Nepal)

Hi Lukas,

how are you doing, how has the 4S project been running?
Can you share any results with us?

Thank you
Claudia
Claudia Wendland
Water and Sanitation Specialist
HAMBURG WASSER
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Re: Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up (4S), providing evidence-based policy recommendations (Eawag, in India and Nepal)

Dear Claudia

Thanks for asking. The data collection and analysis phases of this project are completed and the project team presented the main findings during two national workshops in India and Nepal in April this year. We are still working on the final reports and factsheets, taking into account all feedback and reviews received. This will take another two months or so to finalise. As soon as the final products are ready and uploaded I will announce it here. You can subscribe to this thread to be notified.
For now, you can find the workshop materials on our project website ( www.sandec.ch/4S ). They are mostly presentation slides, as well as a draft policy brief for India which was prepared for the workshop. Please let me know if you have comments or questions.

Regards from Switzerland,
Lukas on behalf of the 4S team
Lukas Ulrich
Sanitation and Wastewater Management Consultant
Project Manager - Small-Scale Sanitation Scaling-Up (4S) – www.sandec.ch/4S

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