This portal was launched in October 2011 by the US Foundation Center as a collaborative platform for philanthropic foundations that fund water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects around the world.
The centre piece is an interactive map showing which foundation funds what where. Currently projects from hundreds of foundations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Skoll Foundation, are included. There are country profiles listing foundation grants, WASH indicators and historical OECD bilateral and multilateral grant data.
Besides the interactive map, the portal provides news and resources for grantmakers such as case studies, recommended reading and overview of key organisations and monitoring tools.
Emptying truck Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo from publication.
This study was initiated and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to map the urban sanitation situation and assesses business and operating models for fecal sludge management in 30 cities across 10 countries in Africa and Asia, specifically focussing on the extraction and transportation market segments. The study was carried out in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal in Africa and Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Malaysia and Viet Nam in South/Southeast Asia.
Using a common analytical framework, teams of local consultants in each of the ten countries gathered users’ perspectives through 13,000 household surveys and the collected data on the financial and business models of 150 emptying service providers. This report presents the comparative analysis based on these data from those surveys.
A majority of households (5.6 million households) in the 30 cities use on-site sanitation facilities. Households spend only a small percentage of their income, on average less 4%, on emptying services. About one third of surveyed households (2 million households) rely on manual emptying for sludge management.
The total available market for emptying services across the 10 cities is an estimated US$ 134 million.
Some regional trends were seen in the business operations between Africa and Asia:
- average truck capacity in Asia is just over 3 cubic metres and in Africa around 10 cubic metres – tracking the differing average pit volumes (2 cubic metres in Asia vs. 7 cubic metres in Africa)
- age of emptying trucks in Africa is 15 to over 30 years and in Asia between 5 to 10 years
- local assembly of trucks in done in Asia, while businesses in Africa import second hand trucks
- the cost of the trucks is three times higher in Africa than in Asia
- in Asia the operating expenses per truck are about US$ 11,000 and three times that much in Africa
- African businesses spend 76% of their expenses on variable charges such as fuel and maintenance, while their Asian counterparts spend most of their expenses (62%) on fixed costs – mainly staff salaries
- the single largest component of operating costs in Africa is fuel, making up 40% of expenses.
- the annual profit per truck in Africa is US$ 12,000 and is twice that seen in Asia, due to the higher empting fee charged (US$ 60 vs. US$ 28 in Asia) and the larger number of trips per day per truck in Africa.
A general finding was that the size of the fleet was the only factor that had a clear and strong correlation to profitability of the business – two or more trucks were needed to become profitable. There was also a lack of support systems necessary to create sustainable and profitable businesses.
The report presents several recommendations to realise the potential of the US$ 134 million market for emptying services, including:
- supporting the scaling of the single truck operators to become mid to large sized operations;
- better access to finance
- introducing transfer stations to save fuel costs and increasing truck efficiency
- regulating scheduled desludging
- local manufacture or assembly of trucks, especially in Africa
- a more effective supply chain for spare parts
- constructing safe dumping sites for sludge and sludge treatment plants
- enabling sludge reuse
Chowdhry, S. and Kone, D., 2012. Business analysis of fecal sludge management : emptying and transportation services in Africa and Asia. Seattle, WA, USA: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 116 p.; 47 fig.; 22 tab. With bibliography p. 115-116
Available at: <
Posted in Africa, East Asia & Pacific, Financing, On-site sanitation, Publications, South Asia, Wastewater treatment
Tagged Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, costs, faecal sludge management, household surveys, private sector
This guide provides highly practical decision-making tools for identifying the type of financing mechanisms to be implemented for on-site sanitation and small-piped sewerage systems.
The authors caution that the costs provided in the publication are for illustrative purposes only and do not reflect the wide variety of situations and practices encountered in the different countries
in sub-Saharan Africa.
The guide is organized into five chapters:
• The chapter ‘Categories of sanitation costs and expenditure’ provides a detailed list of the different components that need to be financed for each segment of the sanitation chain. Indicative cost estimates are also given here;
• The chapter ‘Financing transversal activities’ presents the various possible means of financing the activities and tools necessary for managing and supervising the entire sanitation sector (notably the intervention strategy and the monitoring and evaluation mechanism);
• The chapter ‘Financing access to sanitation’ details the different strategies available for financing the access segment of the sanitation chain;
• The chapter ‘Financing the evacuation of wastewater and excreta’ presents the various means of financing the second segment in the chain, drawing a distinction between on-site sanitation and small piped sewerage systems;
• The chapter ‘Financing the disposal and/or treatment of wastewater, excreta and sludge products’ details the strategies available for financing the disposal and treatment segment of the sanitation chain.
Lastly, the ‘Financing Sanitation Overview’ contains a summarized and simplified version of all of the financing mechanisms presented in the guide. [author abstract]
Désille, D., Le Jallé , C., Toubkiss, J. and Valfrey, B., 2011. Financing sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa . (Concerted Municipal Strategies [CMS] methodological guides on water and sanitation : six methodological guides; 6). [online] Paris, France: pS-Eau, Programme Solidarite Eau. 77 p.; ill.; 14 tab.; 5 fig.; 10 boxes
Available at: <
Despite progress on many fronts, governments around the world are still confronted with the need to reform their existing water policies in order to meet current objectives and future challenges identified by the OECD Environment Outlook to 2050. Population growth, urbanisation, and changing lifestyles as a result of economic growth are key drivers of these challenges, while increasing spatial and temporal water variability resulting from climate change will exacerbate these pressures.
Building on these water challenges, this report examines three fundamental areas that need to be addressed whatever reform agendas are pursued by governments: financing of the water sector; the governance and institutional arrangements that are in place; and coherence between water policies and policies in place in other sectors of the economy. The report provides governments in both OECD and non-OECD countries with practical advice and policy tools to pursue urgent reform in their water sectors.
After framing the water reform challenge, the book examines the policy challenges surrounding the financing of water supply and sanitation and presents a policy toolkit that can underpin policy dialogues to stimulate much needed reform. The chapter also addresses the growing problem of financing the broader water resources management functions of government.
The next chapter highlights the key governance challenges confronting water policy reform, focusing on the issues arising from the multi-level governance structure that generally characterises water resources management.
The final chapter examines the coherence issues raised by the linkages between water, energy and agriculture and presents a number of steps that governments need to take to address the water coherence challenge.
OECD (2012). Meeting the water reform challenge. (OECD studies on water). Paris, France: OECD Publishing. 172 p.: 17 boxes, 25 fig., 16 tab. ISBN: 9789264169999. Available at: <doi: 10.1787/9789264170001-en> [Accessed 18 May 2012]
Watch a video on the global water challenge and OECD’s response.
Posted in Financing, Governance, Policies & legislation, Publications, Sanitation, Videos, Water resources management, Water supply
Tagged OECD, sector reform, water energy agriculture nexus, water reform
Smits, S. … [et al.] (2011). Arrangements and cost of providing support to rural water service providers. (WASHCost working paper ; no. 5). The Hague, The Netherlands, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. 42 p. : 1 fig., 16 tab. 37 ref.
Download full paper
This joint WASHCost and Triple-S paper is about the costs of providing direct and indirect support to rural water service provision. It provides an overview of the features such support entails, how those features can be organised, what they cost and how they can be financed. It also provides recommendations to countries for strengthening support. The paper is based on a desk review of existing literature from seven countries and an analysis of primary cost data collected by the WASHCost project in Andhra Pradesh (India), Mozambique and Ghana in 2010 and 2011.
Posted in Africa, Financing, Publications, South Asia, Sustainable services, Water supply
Tagged direct support costs, Ghana, India, Mozambique, rural water supply, Triple-S, WASHCost, water service delivery, water service providers
Moriarty, P. … [et al.] (2011). Ladders for assessing and costing water service delivery. (WASHCost working paper; no. 2). 2nd ed. The Hague, The Netherlands, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. iv, 19 p. : 5 fig., 5 tab. 14 ref.
Download full paper
This working paper introduces the concept of service levels, grouped as sequential rungs on a ladder, as a way of differentiating between broad and recognisable types (levels) of service. By developing this metaphor, a structure is provided to analyse the data being collected in different countries and settings, not just in terms of the technologies being used, but in terms of the domestic water services being received. The paper introduces water service levels and explains how these can be used as integral components of an analytical tool for applied research or benchmarking. It is best read together with Working Paper 3: Assessing sanitation service levels. Both papers are aimed at providing a framework for data analysis of life-cycle costs. This second edition reflects the experiences of applying this methodology in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique and India (Andhra Pradesh).
Fonseca, C. … [et al.]. (2011). Life-cycle costs approach : costing sustainable services. (WASHCost briefing note ; 1a). The Hague, The Netherlands, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. 37 p. : 6 fig., 7 tab. 22 ref.
Download full briefing note
This briefing note describes the life-cycle costs approach and why it was developed. It explains the main cost components for water and sanitation in rural and peri-urban areas. Detailed cost breakdowns are presented in the annexes. Different types of analysis can be made with disaggregated cost information: comparing costs of infrastructure components, comparing the cost of services delivered or comparing the costs of difference service delivery models. The briefing note explains the building blocks used in the life-cycle costs approach for all these types of analysis and explores how these fit with different accounting practices. It explains why the WASHCost Project has adopted a regulatory accounting approach to calculate aggregated total expenditure costs and provides a step-by-step approach to comparing and reporting costs.
OECD (2011). Meeting the challenge of financing water and sanitation : tools and approaches. (OECD studies on water). Paris, France, OECD Publishing. 142 p. : 13 fig., 5 tab.
ISBN : 9789264120525 (PDF) ; 9789264120518 (print)
Order online / Look inside (free online preview)
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This report provides an overview of key issues related to financing the water and sanitation sector in both developed and developing countries (part 1), and presents tools and approaches developed by OECD for both policy makers and practitioners (part 2).
Part 1 is organised in three chapters. Chapter 1 identifies the investments required to build, operate and maintain the infrastructure for providing sustainable water and sanitation services. It then examines the health, economic and environmental benefits of water supply and sanitation (WSS).
Chapter 2 assesses the current state of WSS and examines investment needs, identifies the financing sources, and estimates the financing gaps to reach internationally agreed targets.
Chapter 3 examines where the money is going to come from, including from a combination of efficiency gains, adjusted targets and additional financial resources; the “3Ts” – tariffs, taxes and transfers; and repayable financing.
In part 2, chapter 4 begins by introducing the tools developed by OECD to address the key financing issues described in part 1.
Chapters 5 to 10 include brief descriptions of the following tools:
- Strategic Financial Planning for WSS at national or regional level – the FEASIBLE tool
- Financial planning tool for water utilities
- Multi-year investment planning tool for municipalities
- Guidelines for performance-based contracts
- Water Utility Performance Indicators (IBNET)
- Private sector participation in water infrastructure – checklist for public action
OECD (2011). Financing water and sanitation : challenges, approaches and tools. (OECD report series). London, UK, IWA Publishing. 115 p. (paperback). ISBN: 9781780400327
Publication date: 31 October 2011
Price: £ 22.00 / US$ 39.60 / € 29.70 ; IWA members price: £ 16.50 / US$ 29.70 / € 22.28
The investments needed to deliver sustainable water and sanitation services, including the funds that are needed to operate and maintain the infrastructure, expand their coverage and upgrade service delivery to meet current social and environmental expectations, are huge. Yet, most systems are underfunded with dire consequences for water and sanitation users, especially the poorest. Providing sustainable drinking water supply and sanitation services requires sound financial basis and strategic financial planning to ensure that existing and future financial resources are commensurate with investment needs as well as the costs of operating and maintaining services. Some of the key messages of this report are:
- WSS generate substantial benefits for the economy
- Investment needs to generate these benefits are large in both OECD and developing countries
- Tariffs are a preferred funding source, but public budgets and ODA will have a role to play, too
- Markets-based repayable finance is needed to cover high up-front capital investment costs
- Strategic financial planning and other OECD tools can help Governments move forward