WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Small Towns

February 14, 2014 · 0 comments

Issue 134 February 14, 2014 | Focus on WASH and Small Towns

More people now live in urban rather than rural areas. As this traditional balance has changed, a new and significant category of human settlement is emerging—small towns. This issue of the Weekly contains reports and manuals published in 2013 on WASH issues in small towns. Included are a December 2013 report from IRC International Water and Sanitation Center on small town WASH trends and models; country reports from Ghana, Indonesia, and Uganda; and links to a WaterAid website that features a series of videos on WASH issues in small towns.

We welcome your suggestions for future issues of the Weekly; upcoming issues will be on World Water Day 2014, WASH and nutrition, behavior change, CLTS, household water treatment, and menstrual hygiene management.


April 7–9, 2014 Seminar on Monitoring of Decentralised WASH Services in West Africa(Link)
This is a seminar to bring stakeholders from West Africa up to speed with the latest thinking on WASH monitoring, and provide a venue for emphasizing experiences in the field of monitoring WASH services at the municipal level. It will take place in Ouagaoudou, Burkina Faso. IRC International Water and Sanitation Center and PS-Eau organized the event with the political support of ECOWAS and the Government of Burkina Faso.


Small Town Water Services: Trends, Challenges and Models, 2013. M Adank, IRC.(Link)
This paper presents the main features and explains what constitutes “small towns” to determine the most appropriate water service arrangement for this new phenomenon. Findings of the paper point to challenges in developing a clear typology for small towns and assigning one single model for delivering small town water services. The paper draws examples from different countries and provides compelling evidence that: different models and arrangements have been tested and have worked; there is a growing role for private sector involvement; and there is a need to revisit institutional and regulatory frameworks, as well as funding models, to finance capital maintenance.

Full-Chain Sanitation Services that Last: Non-Sewered Sanitation Services, 2013. J Verhagen. IRC. (Link)
This paper sets out a framework for the delivery of non-sewered sanitation services that last, are accessible to all, and are at scale. The framework identifies four key parameters for sustainable sanitation services: 1) easy and safe access to a sanitary latrine that offers user privacy and operates throughout the year; 2) hygienic use of the latrine (equipped with an accessible hand washing facility) by all, when in and around the house; 3) adequate operation and maintenance and repair and replacement to ensure that the latrine is usable; and 4) safe and final disposal of fecal sludge to ensure environmental protection.

Thinking Beyond the ‘Usual Questions’: Small Towns, 2013. (Video)
Ken Kaplan of Building Partnerships for Development discusses the Small Towns Project with WaterAid and how small towns are different from larger urban and rural areas. One “aha” moment was realizing how far a small town was from a large urban center and how this may force innovation.

Urban Sanitation Review: A Call to Action, 2013. The World Bank. (Link)
This study summarizes the main challenges to scaling up access to sustainable sanitation services in the urban areas of three countries in the East Asia and Pacific region—Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam—and proposes the main steps these countries need to take to redress the status quo.


Ghana – Facilitator’s Manual for Small Towns CLTS Field Work, n.d. R Kidd, UNICEF.(Link)
This manual is a guide for field workers who are promoting sanitation improvements at community and household levels, using the community-led total sanitation approach applied to the small towns context.

Ghana – Management Models for the Provision of Small Town and Peri-Urban Water Services in Ghana, 2013. M Adank. (Link)
This document presents a synthesis of the findings of several studies on water services for small towns in Ghana.

Indonesia – Review of Community-Managed Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems in Indonesia, 2013. K Eales, Water and Sanitation Program (WSP). (Link)
Community-managed anaerobic decentralized wastewater treatment systems (DEWATS) offer the possibility of relatively swift sanitation improvements in high priority neighborhoods that communities can manage themselves, where local government does not yet provide a full sanitation service. This review explores Indonesia’s experience in implementing community-managed DEWATS on a growing scale.

Kenya – Risk Perception, Choice of Drinking Water, and Water Treatment: Evidence from Kenyan Towns, 2013. J Onjala. (Link)
This study uses household survey data from four Kenyan towns to examine the effect of households’ characteristics and risk perceptions on their decision to treat/filter water as well as their choice of main drinking water source.

Kenya - Water Flows, Energy Demand, and Market Analysis of the Informal Water Sector in Kisumu, Kenya. Ecol EconMar 2013. L Sima. (Link)
This paper presents data gathered from quantitative interviews with informal water business operators in Kisumu, Kenya, collected during the dry season. Sales volume, location, resource use, and cost were analyzed by using material flow accounting and spatial analysis tools. Estimates show that more than 76 percent of the city’s water is consumed by less than 10 percent of the population who have water piped into their dwellings. The remainder of the population relies on a combination of water sources, including water purchased directly from kiosks and delivered by hand-drawn water carts.

Uganda – Private Sector Participation in the Ugandan Water Sector: A Review of 10 Years of Private Management of Small Town Water Systems, 2013. M Hirn, WSP.(Link)
This working paper reviews the first decade (2001-2011) of Uganda’s pioneering private sector participation (PSP) model for small town water supply. The number of towns under the PSP model has steadily risen from only 15 in 2001-2002 to over 90 in 2010-2011 with a combined population of over 1.5 million. In evaluating the impact of this development, this working paper aims to guide further reform within Uganda, and to inform other countries considering similar PSP approaches.


WaterAid – Small Towns – (Link)
This website contains publications and a series of videos on small town WASH issues.

WASHplus Weeklies will highlight topics such as Urban WASH, Indoor Air Pollution, Innovation, Household Water Treatment and Storage, Hand Washing, Integration, and more. If you would like to feature your organization’s materials in upcoming issues, please send them to Dan Campbell, WASHplus Knowledge Resources Specialist, at dacampbell@fhi360.org.

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