Experiences with sustainability instruments : clauses, checks and compacts for ensuring WASH Services, 2015. IRC.

Authors: Verhoeven, J., Uijtewaal, E., Schouten, T.

This report, based on a desk review, describes experiences in the use of several sustainability instruments that are used in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects. These instruments are:

  • the sustainability clause, check and compact developed by the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS), an agency of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • the Sanitation and Water for All country compacts for Ghana and Liberia, and
  • the financial, institutional, environmental, technical and social (FIETS) approach developed by the Dutch WASH Alliance for monitoring sustainability.

The report concludes with a summary of the main features of each instrument followed by a discussion on how they contributed to sustainable projects as well as on their shortcomings.


Bangladeshi arsenic- and salt-mitigation sourcebook and decision-support tool, 2015. IRC, BRAC and Practica Foundation.

Authors: Szántó, G., Halem, D. van, et al.

This publication provides a detailed description of the ASTRA arsenic- and salt-mitigation tool developed in the framework of the BRAC WASH II programme. It is a supporting compendium and tool to help decision-makers, practitioners and students understand and identify potentially appropriate technological solutions to tackle the widespread arsenic and salinity problems in the water sources of Bangladesh. The main focus is on arsenic removal by disinfection and (in)filtration and on the use of alternative water sources. The publication draws on both Bangladeshi and international research and practical experience.

The identification of appropriate solutions is based on a multidisciplinary assessment and matching of method functionality within a given local context. The publication contains both critical reviews and practical information of all potentially applicable solutions.

The first chapter describes the growing water stress and its key drivers in Bangladesh. The sourcebook includes mitigation methods that can either treat or circumvent arsenic- or salt-contaminated water sources. Three mitigation routes are outlined: (i) targeting arsenic- or salt-free groundwater, (ii) treating arsenic- or salt contaminated groundwater or (iii) disinfecting alternative, non-groundwater sources.

Using one or more of the identified mechanisms, 26 specific technological methods are identified as eligible for the water sector in Bangladesh. Their in-depth descriptions are given in chapter 6 of this publication. The descriptions of technical, institutional, ecological and socio-economic features are accompanied by eligibility matrices. The matrices allow users to assess the applicability of solutions for local or project-specific criteria. The description of decision-support tool is coupled with the user manual and the related online version. Finally, there is a discussion on ways to further improve the sustainability of the Bangladeshi water sector.


The Long-Term Impact of Water and Sanitation on Childhood Cognition. The FASEB Journal, April 2015.

Authors: Nisaa’ Wulan, Emily Smith, et al.

Unsafe water and poor sanitation may negatively affect brain development, however few studies have examined the long-term impact on children’s cognitive function. Our objective was to assess the relationship between household access to safe water and toilet facilities during the prenatal period with childhood cognition 9-12 years later. The Supplementation with Multiple Micronutrients Intervention Trial (SUMMIT), conducted in 2001-2004 In Indonesia, compared the health effects of a prenatal multiple micronutrient supplement to an iron and folic acid supplement.

Children of mothers who had access to safe toilet facilities during pregnancy had higher scores in Digit Span Forward (95%CI 0.008-0.17, P<0.03), Information (95%CI 0.08-0.2, P<0.001), Block Design (95%CI 0.01-0.1, P<0.02), and Word List Memory (95%CI 0.006-0.17, P<0.03) tests after adjusting for cluster randomization, data collector, maternal education, socio-economic status and home environment score.

Children of mothers with access to safe water during pregnancy had higher Word List Memory scores (95%CI 0.01-0.19, P<0.02). The finding that safe water and toilet facilities were associated with child cognition even after adjustment for socio-economic status and maternal education suggests that interventions to improve water and sanitation in early life may have long-term benefits on child cognitive abilities.

Water, sanitation, and diarrheal incidence among children: evidence from Guatemala. Water Policy, In Press, Uncorrected Proof, Mar 2015.

Authors: William F. Vásquez and Anna-Maria Aksan

Using household survey data for Guatemala, this paper investigates the role of water and sanitation infrastructure on diarrheal incidence in children. Hierarchical logit models of diarrhea incidence are estimated to account for potential regional heterogeneity of water and sanitation effects. Results indicate that the incidence probability of diarrhea is on average 20% lower in homes connected to a sewage system. The effect of in-home access to tap water is weaker at 11% and subject to regional heterogeneity. Findings also indicate that consumption of bottled water reduces the incidence probability of diarrhea by 20–22%. In-home water treatments have no effect on incidence of diarrhea. Policy implications are discussed.

Piped water flows but sachet consumption grows: The paradoxical drinking water landscape of an urban slum in Ashaiman, Ghana. Habitat International, June 2015.

Authors: Justin Stoler, et al.


  • This research explores drinking water perceptions in Old Tulaku, an urban slum in Ashaiman, Ghana.
  • The study synthesizes results from 4 focus groups and survey data from 95 households.
  • Sachet water consumption is associated with socioeconomic and knowledge factors.
  • Drivers of water-seeking behaviour are complex and can inform water provision policy.

Empowerment in action: savings groups improving community water, sanitation, and hygiene services. Enterprise Development and Microfinance, March 2015.

Kaelyn DeVries, Alejandro Rizo, Project Concern International, Guatemala.

Savings groups (SGs) combined with social empowerment strategies can be used to engage communities meaningfully in addressing development challenges such as access to clean water and a functioning latrine. As participants in PCI’s SG initiative entitled Women Empowered (WE), women have independently identified WASH needs in their communities and have organized and carried out collective actions to improve their situation. This paper highlights results from a qualitative study in which PCI looked at SGs within two international development programmes in urban and rural Guatemala.

Do Decentralized Community Treatment Plants Provide Better Water? Evidence from Andhra Pradesh, 2015.

Authors: Marc Jeuland, et al.

Highly advanced, community-level drinking water treatment facilities are increasingly seen as water supply solutions in locations where piped in-house water systems are nonexistent or unreliable. These systems utilize combined technologies, such as advanced filtration plus ultraviolet disinfection or reverse osmosis, which are known to be highly effective for the removal of pathogens and other water contaminants. Yet there is a paucity of rigorous evidence on whether the community-level treatment model delivers water quality, health, or other benefits to households that source water from them.

We find low rates of sourcing water from the facilities (~10%), and little evidence of benefits among households living in villages receiving a community water system (CWS). Particularly among users of the CWS, we also observe short-term increases in the number of drinking water sources used and in monthly expenses on drinking water combined with decreases in in-house water treatment, and higher reported rates of diarrheal diseases among children. These findings suggest that caution and additional scrutiny is warranted before concluding that such systems provide safer water to households in communities facing drinking water quality problems.

A Review of Heterogeneous Photocatalysis for Water and Surface DisinfectionMolecules 2015, 20, 5574-5615.

Authors: John Anthony Byrne, et al.

Photo-excitation of certain semiconductors can lead to the production of reactive oxygen species that can inactivate microorganisms. The mechanisms involved are reviewed, along with two important applications. The first is the use of photocatalysis to enhance the solar disinfection of water. It is estimated that 750 million people do not have accessed to an improved source for drinking and many more rely on sources that are not safe. If one can utilize photocatalysis to enhance the solar disinfection of water and provide an inexpensive, simple method of water disinfection, then it could help reduce the risk of waterborne disease.

Chlorine dispensers in Kenya: scaling for results, 3ie Grantee Final Report, 2015.

Authors: Amrita Ahuja, et al.

We conducted three studies: one survey experiment and two large-scale randomized evaluations, to investigate how a particular community-level water treatment device, the chlorine dispenser, is valued and allocated by local government officials, and how best it can be financed and managed.

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Effectiveness of Chlorine Dispensers in Emergencies: Case Study Results from Haiti, Sierra Leone, DRC, and Senegal. Environ. Sci. Technol., March 2015.

Authors: Travis Yates , Elise Armitage , Lilian V. Lehmann , Ariel J. Branz , and Daniele S. Lantagne

Dispensers are a source-based water quality intervention with promising uptake results in development contexts. Dispenser programs include a tank of chlorine with a dosing valve that is installed next to a water source, a local Promoter who conducts community education and refills the Dispenser, and chlorine refills. In collaboration with response organizations, we assessed the effectiveness of Dispensers in four emergency situations.

In the three initial and four sustained response phase evaluations, 70 Dispenser sites were visited, 2,057 household surveys were conducted, and 1,676 water samples were analyzed. Across the evaluations, reported Dispenser use ranged from 9-97%, confirmed Dispenser use (as measured by free chlorine residual) ranged from 5-87%, and effective use (as measured by improvement in household water quality to meet international standards) ranged from 0-81%.

More effective Dispenser interventions installed Dispensers at point-sources, maintained a high-quality chlorine solution manufacturing and distribution chain, maintained Dispenser hardware, integrated Dispensers projects within larger water programs, remunerated Promoters, had experienced project staff, worked with local partners to implement the project, conducted ongoing monitoring, and had a project sustainability plan. Our results indicate that Dispensers can be, but are not always, an appropriate strategy to reduce the risk of waterborne diseases in emergencies.