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waterleader issue 03 / 2011

THE

Š Gregory Baldwin


waterleader THE

CONTENTS

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issue 03 / 2011

climate change, water, & human health: glimpses of the future by Bernice Lee & David L. Heymann

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looking for unconventional solutions to address global freshwater issues by Milena Boniolo

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employing new methodologies in watersanitation decision making by Michael Paddon

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the water-energy nexus & the downfall of the supplyside paradigm by Douglas S. Kenney

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the role of water users & manufacturers of household products in achieving water sustainability by Jan-Olof Drangert

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improving water supply when institutions & actors are messy: the entrepreneurial path by Boyd Fuller

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institutional revamping to achieve better public water utilities: bridging the gap between policies & desired outcomes by Andrea Restrepo-Mieth

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sustainable water solutions in a changing urban environment by Gatze Lettinga

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sustainable sanitation for the urban poor by Francis L. de los Reyes III

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by James L. Barnard

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water governance: the relevance of price policy by Peter Rogers

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choke point china: confronting water scarcity & energy demand by Keith Schneider & J. Carl Ganter

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photo essay: choke point china by Aaron Jaffe & J. Carl Ganter

sanitation for all using social enterprise: an assessment of selected models & considerations for public policy by Shahana Sheikh

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water governance options for developing countries: quo vadis public-private partnership? by Asanga Gunawansa

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is public-private partnership obsolete? by Claude MĂŠnard

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the case for independent water-related organisations in developing countries

decentralising water & wastewater systems: lessons from the telecom industry by Sammis B. White

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water security: what on earth are we doing? by Linda A. Reid

editors pragnya alekal pragnya@nus.edu.sg asanga gunawansa bdgasan@nus.edu.sg editorial board pragnya alekal, boyd fuller, asanga gunawansa, seetharam kallidaikurichi

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creative director sung lee slee@nus.edu.sg

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designer nadiah jailani ana.pixels@gmail.com

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed as well as the references provided within the think pieces are the sole responsibility of the authors. The WaterLeader neither endorses nor opposes any cause, politics, etc outlined by the authors in their think pieces. Questions or other feedback should be shared directly with the corresponding authors; email addresses are included for each of the authors following their respective think pieces.

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editors’ note Launched at the first Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) in 2008, an annual water conference run by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) of Singapore, the Institute of Water Policy (IWP) has grown into a respected research institution in just three short years. Based at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (NUS), IWP has quickly become a centre for conducting cutting edge water policy research, education initiatives, and public dialoguing particularly within Asia, and increasingly around the world. Today, IWP boasts a full-time interdisciplinary research staff which conducts state-of-the-art research and policy analysis, and collaborates with renowned international researchers on projects relating to water security, water governance, and other related subjects. The research outcomes have helped in water decision-making in public and private sector agencies, and enhanced efficiency in water governance and management. IWP has also helped

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advance the knowledge and skills of employees in public, private and non-profit organisations through professional and executive development programmes. It is also one of the strategic partners of SIWW; and PUB continues to be a strong supporter of IWP's research and development. Alongside the strong chorus of practitioners and industry engines that dominate SIWW, IWP can best contribute to the event by bringing and showcasing academic voices to the conference. It is within these circumstances, that the IWP introduces their third issue of the WaterLeader magazine. Newly revamped and stylized, this issue features think pieces from a multi-faceted group of highly-regarded academics and experts from around the world. Speaking to a diverse audience, the think pieces featured in this edition are short, engaging, and insightful. The contributors who represent universities, government think tanks, nonprofit organisations, and industry are in different stages of their careers - from award-winning graduate students to distinguished professors emeriti. Their backgrounds range from economics and law to medicine and engineering, all doing research on issues related to water. The think pieces they have provided reflect on various facets of Sustainable Water 'Solutions for the Changing Urban Environment', this year's theme for SIWW. The think pieces largely fall under two categories: the first showcases the various challenges in dealing with the biggest water issues of today, including water quality, water governance, climate change, and the water-energy nexus; the second focuses on a discussion of possible solutions or mechanisms to mitigate these challenges. In the first category of think pieces, the internationally-renowned network of photojournalists from the Pulitzer-Prize-nominated organization Circle of Blue showcases a stunning photo-essay on the water-energy challenges playing out in China. Their founder, J Carl Ganter, and Chief Editor, Keith Schneider lend personal thoughts and analyses about the cause of these challenges in a separate think piece of their own. In another think piece, the renowned wastewater technology expert and 2009 Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize winner, Professor Gatze Lettinga highlights the need for political will as being the most significant challenge for developing infrastructure. Milena Boniolo, an award-winning PhD

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student from Brazil, extrapolates from personal experiences in her chemistry lab and how essential it is for more water-related solutions to be inspired by the unconventional. Coming from a developing country, and now working in the United States, Associate Professor Francis de los Reyes understands the challenges of sustainable sanitation intimately and suggests in his think piece that solutions for sustainable sanitation will also only come out of challenging conventional norms. An interdisciplinary natural resource theorist from the University of Colorado, Dr. Douglas Kenney, expresses his concerns over the downside of the water-energy nexus being almost exclusively supply-driven. In her think piece, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Associate Professor Linda Reid questions why we aren’t doing more to help save our precious water resources and proposes that social media can be used as a tool for saving them. In the second category of think pieces, our contributors focus on mechanisms for mitigating current urban water challenges. Associate Professor Michael Paddon from the University of Technology in Sydney argues that alternative methodologies for assessing and analyzing water infrastructure need to be developed. He provides an example of a new methodology his team has developed that has improved participatory decision-making and thereby created more sustainable infrastructure in Vietnam. In another think piece, Dr. James Barnard, the 2011 winner of the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, reflects on the vital necessity for independent water organizations and grassroots movements for

the development of good water infrastructure projects in emerging economies. Associate Professor Jan-Olof Drangert, a recognized global wastewater expert from Sweden argues that most wastewater issues would be best addressed if manufacturers were more careful with the types of products they produced, and users and utilities worked more closely together to monitor their water quality. Recent graduate from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, Andrea Restrepo-Mieth uses a case study of Lao PDR to prove that institutional revamping might be the right approach for improving their water utility’s efficacy. Dr. Boyd Fuller, and separately, Shahana Sheikh, both from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy discuss how entrepreneurship in water and sanitation can be used to improve water supply gaps in the population. Professor Claude MÊnard from the University of Paris (PantheonSorbonne) and Dr. Asanga Gunawansa from the School of Design and Environment of the National University of Singapore (NUS), each tackle the virtues of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in development and management of water infrastructure projects. Harvard Professor, Peter Rogers, argues that water pricing might be the key mechanism toward implementing water conservation practices. Finally in this category, Professor Sammis White from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee urges everyone to earnestly begin taking lessons from the very successful telecom network to make water management more efficient as it works to effectively address all accessibility gaps.

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Climate Change, Water, & Human Health: Glimpses of the Future bernice lee & david l. heymann

Š Paul Lachine

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The health of those living in the waterchallenged parts of the world is at

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limate change and the resource crunch are bringing new risks and uncertainties to an already turbulent world. That these climate-related risks are coming on top of a range of socio-economic pressures created by rapid industrialisation and urbanisation as well as shifting global economic power has added another layer of uncertainty to national policy planning. The anticipated bottlenecks and constraints (in energy, water, and other critical natural resources and infrastructure) – together with these socio-economic shifts – will bring new and hard-to-manage instabilities. Today, we are only beginning to comprehend how the impacts of environmental change and the associated water management challenges will play out in health terms for those residing in water-insecure parts of the world. Food, water and other resources are already facing serious pressures, driven by demographic changes and shifting consumption patterns. The continuation of current patterns would mean that total consumption would exceed the tolerance thresholds of ecosystems and resources, whether cropland, rangeland, fisheries or usable water.1 Water scarcity is already critical in parts of the world and is likely to worsen significantly in the coming decades (see Figure 1). About 80 per cent of the world's population lives in areas with high levels of threat to water security and in 2000, half a billion people lived in countries chronically short of water.2 By 2050, 75 per cent of the global population could face freshwater shortages.3 Looking to the medium term, agriculture, which accounts for over 70 per cent of freshwater extracted for human use, will likely suffer most, with consequences for food security. UNESCO estimated that, under current agricultural conditions, water demand would rise by 70 to 90 per cent by 2050 in order to feed the projected world population at that date.4 Climate change impacts are expected to exacerbate these pressures, although to what extent will depend upon the policy choices that are made in the coming years. The consequences of climate change are manifold. Sea levels are expected to rise by between 0.18m and 0.59m by

great risk from the impacts of climate change, but health has not yet become firmly embedded in the global and national discussions on climate change preparedness and adaptation. the end of this century.5 Over one billion people currently rely on glacier melt water, which will eventually disappear.6 Meanwhile, those living in floodplains and coastal regions will experience increased risk of flooding. In China, for example, there is likely to be an increase in desertification of semi-arid areas. Regional warming and drying reduce wetland surfaces. Large swathes of swamp will become meadow wetland. Outside of these issues, the joint impact of climate change on water and global public health issues is overwhelming. Even with an average global temperature rise of 2°C over pre-industrial levels, there will be reduced access to safe and reliable water supply, posing major challenges for agriculture and food security on all continents.7 Increased risks to hydroelectric power generation will mean higher prices.8 Most experts believe there will be both direct and indirect effects on human health from climate-change induced modifications in our planet’s water. Direct effects include death and injury from extreme weather events such as floods and storms. Small island countries are expected to be particularly vulnerable to the consequences of sea-level rise. Indirect effects include increased risk of malnutrition from drought and impaired or failed agriculture, magnified in some instances by failed local fisheries. We have had glimpses of these effects during the past two to three decades when severe climate-associated events have occurred. Indirect effects, for example, have been clearly demonstrated in East Africa when more

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Physical water scarcity: More than 75% of river flows are allocated to agriculture, industries, or domestic purposes. This definition of scarcity – relating water availability to water demand – implies that dry areas are not necessarily waterscarce. Approaching physical water scarcity: More than 60% of river flows are allocated. These basins will experience physical water scarcity in the near future.

Economic water scarcity: Water resources are abundant relative to water use, with less than 25% of water from rivers withdrawn for human purposes, but malnutrition exists. Little or no water scarcity: Abundant water resources relative to use. Less than 25% of water from rivers is withdrawn for human purposes Not estimated Source: International Water Management Institute

Figure 1: Projected Global Water Scarcity 2025

than 23 million people were affected by droughts brought transmits the infection to humans was able to reproduce on by a prolonged failure of rains, which caused loss of in larger than usual numbers.12 crops, food shortages and severe hunger. In some areas, The health effects of environmental change in water emergency levels of malnutrition led to a major global are at present glimpses of a future in which climateappeal for food aid.9 related impacts will become more ubiquitous. However, Drought also disrupts natural habitats of animals much can be done now to reduce the impact on health. and can force animals searching for water and food, Policy makers in all arenas need to be cognisant of into closer contact with these issues and mobilise humans. Emergence of the resources to take action By investing in health systems to Lassa virus and hantavirus as necessary. For examin West Africa and North ple, strong public health prepare for direct and indirect impact America during periods of systems that provide drought has respectively nutritional support for of climate-related changes in water on the malnourished, preled to human outbreaks 10,11 with high mortality. and control waterhealth including the potential of water- vent El Nino related floodsensitive infections, and ing in Eastern Kenya and the surge capacrelated disease, we can start preparing develop Southern Sudan in 1998 ity to manage large-scale resulted in the re-emeroutbreaks during both the for the needed response in the future gence of the often fatal Rift acute and chronic phases Valley Fever when humans will permit better manwhile improving human health today. and cattle were forced to agement of public health events that are occurring live in close proximity on islands of dry land surrounded by water. The outbreak at present, and also those that occur in the future. Further, other resources like these would also help mitigate was facilitated by a failure to vaccinate animals that serve the climate-related impacts on global health and wateras reservoirs of the Rift Valley Fever Virus, and by the increase in stagnant water in which the mosquito that related issues.

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The health of those living in the water-challenged parts of the world is at great risk from the impacts of climate change, but health has not yet become firmly embedded in the global and national discussions on climate change preparedness and adaptation. By investing in health systems to prepare for direct and indirect impact of climate-related changes in water on health including the potential of water-related disease, we can

start preparing for the needed response in the future while improving human health today. TWL Dr. Bernice Lee is an expert in climate security, environmental governance and EU-China relations on climate change. She is currently the Research Director for Energy, Environment and Resource Governance at Chatham House, London. Dr. Lee can be reached at BLee@chathamhouse.org.uk. Prof. David L. Heymann, M.D is the Chair of the Health Protection Agency, UK, and the Head of the Global Centre on Health Security at Chatham House. For his contribution to public and global health on infectious diseases, he has received the 2004 American Public Health Association Award, the 2005 Donald Mackay Award from the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the 2007 Heinz Award on the Human Condition. Prof. Heymann can be David.Heymann@hpa.org.uk. reached at

ENDNOTES 01 Stockholm International Water Institute, International Food Policy Research Institute, World Conservation Union and International Water Management Institute. (2005). Let It Reign: The New Water Paradigm for Global Food Security. Stockholm: Working Report to CSD-13. Stockholm International Water Institute. 02 The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank. (2007). World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development. United States: World Bank Publications. 03 Hightower, M., & Pierce, S. A. (2008, March 20). The Energy Challenge. Nature , 452, pp. 285-286. 04 World Water Assessment Programme. (2009). The United Nations World Water Development Report 3: Water in a Changing World. Paris: UNESCO, and London: Earthscan. 05 IPCC. (2007). Summary for Policymakers. In S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K. Averyt, et al. (Eds.), Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. 06 European Environment Agency. (2006). Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Europe. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. 07 Schellnhuber, H., Cramer, W., Nakicenivic, N., T.Wigley, & Yohe, G. (Eds.). (2006). Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. 08 WWF. (2003). Going, Going, Gone! Climate Change & Global Glacier Decline. IPMA Worldwide Press. 09 Oxfam International. (2009, September 29). Drought Pushes 23 Million East Africans Toward Severe Hunger as Rains Fail For Fifth Year. Retrieved from Oxfam International Website: http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2009-09-29/east-africa-drought 10 Birmingham, K., & Kenyon, G. (2001). Lassa Fever is Unheralded Problem in West Africa. Nature Medicine, 7, 878. 11

CDC. (1993, October 29). Update: Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome – United States, 1993. Retrieved from CDC WONDER: http://wonder. cdc.gov/wonder/prevguid/m0030705/m0030705.asp

12 CDC. (2000). Outbreak of Rift Valley Fever – Yemen, August-October 2000. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 49 (47), 1065-6.

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© Carolyn Ridsdale

Looking for Unconventional Solutions to Address Global Freshwater Issues MILENA BONIOLO

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esearchers and inventors from all around the world are racing to find solutions to the world’s growing water crisis, i.e. how best to provide and meet the increasing demand for better quality and quantity of potable water. Most researchers continue to develop new and expensive technologies and products, such as nanotechnology, membrane filters, etc, often ignoring simpler, more locally available, often unconventional methodologies or technologies that might provide cheaper, faster and more scalable solutions. In this piece, the key submission is that more efforts need to be made within the invention space (from industry and government to academia) to think ‘outside the box,’ rethink how research is being done and start looking at more practical, and sometimes, unconventional tools to find affordable and better solutions to deal with water scarcity issues.

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The key submission is that more efforts need to be made within the invention space (from industry and government to academia) to think ‘outside the box,’ rethink how research is being done, and start looking at more practical, and sometimes, unconventional tools to find affordable and better solutions to deal with water scarcity issues. UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran

For example, biosorption, a physiochemical process that occurs naturally in certain biomass, coerces contaminants to passively concentrate and bind onto the biomass cellular structure, thereby rendering the water cleaner and naturally filtered. Natural mechanisms such as these can be further enhanced and capitalised upon to deliver cheaper and more efficient ways of improving water quality. In the country of Brazil, one of the world’s largest producers of bananas, banana peels are being examined for their biosorption capacities in water. Every year, the peels of over 30 per cent of the bananas produced in Brazil end up in the trash. This A woman in El Fasher, North Darfur, uses a Water Roller for easily and efficiently carrying water. massive amount of waste (or resource) can be put to good use by using them to filter out pollutants in the water. in research that is more sustainable and locally available, Research has shown that the banana peel has the and learning how to make these solutions more scalable? ability to remove over 65 per cent of the heavy metals in Inspiration and solutions lie all around us, often in contaminated water in less than 40 minutes.1 Further, a the least expected places. Centuries ago, Archimedes was simple desorption process can be utilised to separate the inspired to write his principle while taking a bath in a tub; pollutants from the peel for further recycling or proper and Newton was inspired to write some of the greatest disposal. This means that we need to use fewer chemicals laws of physics when an apple fell on his head. The idea to clean the water and dispose of less banana peels. Other to use the banana peels for removing pollutants from types of residual biomass such as rice fibers, sugarcane water was inspired by looking in the trash. All of these and coconut fibers could also be used for biosorption. great ideas came from looking outside our conventional Similarly, there is plenty of research to show that Mor- environments. We need to encourage our researchers inga olifeira, a naturally occurring plant throughout Asia and inventors to seek inspiration outside their labs, supand Africa has outstanding coagulating and flocculating port scientists to do research in unconventional spaces properties and can be used to naturally treat water in a and look at unconventional tools and methodologies for safe and effective way. newer and better solutions. TWL The interesting point here is not the type of fiber or material, but rather, how nature has provided so many so- Milena Boniolo is an award-winning chemist and Ph.D student at lutions that we can use that are far more environmentally the Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil. She is currently friendly, safe and affordable for everyone. Thus the ques- developing methods to detect environmental contaminants and to tions that we need to answer are why are we not looking at reduce organic waste. Boniolo can be reached at milenaboniolo@ these types of solutions more? Why are we not investing yahoo.com.br.

ENDNOTES 01 Boniolo, M. R., Yamaura, M., & Monteiro, R. A. (2010). Residual Biomass for Removal of Uranyl Ions. Quimica Nova, 33 (3), 547-551

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michael paddon

India Water Portal

A girl in Dhaka defecates through a walkway 30 feet above a river.

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ecisions about water and wastewater investment in developing countries are often driven by presumptions about technologies (based on perceptions of what has been used historically in the developed countries) or about the availability of funding (strongly influenced by what international aid donors will support) or a combination of the two. However, it may be best to include new and more comprehensive methodologies when assessing the best option for water and sanitation systems moving forward. Advances in technology certainly mean that there are a wide range of options available for water and sanitation systems than ever before. The increasing availability of decentralised systems in water and sanitation, at precinct, neighbourhood or even household scale, also opens up alternatives in terms of how and to what scale. These advances and opportunities should shift our attention away from a preoccupation with what is available (in terms of technology) or how to raise finance so that we can focus more on how and who we task with making the critical decisions about which water or sanitation options are most suitable for specific contexts or purposes. This also enables us to extend the focus beyond these technological

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and financial issues (important as they may be) to a wider range of considerations now recognised internationally as contributing to the sustainability of water and sanitation systems. Equally important is the decision maker involved in identifying and making decisions about whether the options are viable, acceptable and hence, fit a purpose. A few months ago a research team from the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia completed a two-year project on recommending options for the delivery of sanitation to emerging peri-urban areas in Vietnam’s most rapidly growing cities. The project used an economic analysis and sustainability assessment methodology developed over a decade of work in Australia, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States, which enables decision makers to perform effective comparative analyses. In collaboration with the City’s water utility and local University, the tool was adapted to the City of Can Tho, a rapidly growing city on the Mekong in the south of Vietnam, one of only five cities with Provincial Status, intended to be a major crux for economic development in the south. The City’s utility provider had identified sanitation provision in the peri-urban regions of this area as being its most significant challenge.

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The project compared four wasteconfidence in a process that is wellThese advances and water management alternatives on documented to substantiate findings the basis of cost-effectiveness and the that are markedly different from what opportunities should relative sustainability of the options, the local water utility had originally shift our attention away discerned, viz a decentralised option determined through a participatory sustainability assessment process. that is both viable and cost-effective, from a preoccupation The options included permutations and this assessment can consequently and combinations of centralised and be presented to potential funders to with what is available (in look decentralised treatment.1 The new for appropriate funding. Includmethodology (that looked at factors ing a detailed and extensive review of terms of technology) or beyond technology) concluded that a the sustainability of the options ecocombination system would probably nomically, environmentally, socially how to raise finance so work best.2 It was also found to be the and in terms of future development that we can focus more most sustainable when considered needs, taking account of legislative against a broad set of sustainability and other obligations in each of these on how and who we task dimensions, means that all the stakecriteria by city stakeholders. The results confirmed trends in holders from a range of organisations with making the critical thinking about water and wastewater have been included and can take management with a move away from ownership of the results. It has also decisions about which the centralised provision of water meant that the solutions were coninfrastructure towards more localised sidered not solely in terms of their water or sanitation treatment, and sometimes even re-use technical merit, but also in terms of options are most of wastewater. The most innovative their social impacts, including the contribution to reducing poverty in solution, which included capture, colsuitable for specific the city. lection and storage of urine using urineEssentially, as shown in this parseparating toilets, was the second most contexts or purposes. ticular instance in Can Tho and other preferred option by city stakeholders work done recently, traditional unilargely because of its potential to provide revenue (through the sale of fertiliser), five times greater than directional or purely technology-driven methodologies may the system’s continuing operation and maintenance costs. not provide the best or most sustainable options for new and emerging water sanitation issues. It is very important to start It was also deemed to be forward-thinking consistent with the developing new methodologies that are more comprehensive overall development objectives of the city. Had the team gone through the usual high-tech or and inclusive to make the most sustainable decisions. TWL traditional tech-driven approach, the conclusion could easily have been very different. However, using a more com- Michael Paddon is an Associate Professor and Research Director of prehensive methodology that involved a detailed process the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of of identifying options, incorporating intensive stakeholder Technology, Sydney. His expertise lies in innovative approaches to analysis and input, tremendous local participation, in addi- strategic, integrated and sustainable development and the impacts tion to looking for the specific technologies which could be of organisational change to public and private sectors. Michael available for South Vietnam, ensuring that all the elements Paddon can be reached at Michael.Paddon@uts.edu.au. complied with nationally legislated requirements, then undertaking a detailed costing over a 30-year time frame has The team which conducted this project from ISF was Juliet Willetts, Naomi Carrard, Monique Retamal, Cynthia Mitchell and Michael meant that there is a robustness in the conclusions. Paddon. It was funded by AusAID. The local decision makers in the city can have

ENDNOTES 01 The alternatives considered, included, centralised treatment, decentralised treatment at the scale of several hundred households, a combination of centralised and decentralised treatments and an option with resource recovery (which involved diversion and storage of urine to be used as fertiliser in local agriculture). 02 The combination system consisted of centralised waste treatment (for a densely populated area close to existing infrastructure) and decentralised treatment (for the adjoining peri-urban areas) was the lowest cost wastewater treatment option and approximately half that of the centralised wastewater treatment option. the waterleader / JUNE 2011

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© Li Dan

The WaterEnergy Nexus & the Downfall of the Supply-Side Paradigm douglas s. kenney

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n the western United States (as elsewhere), the nexus between water and energy has become increasingly appreciated and studied, in part because the transition to new energy sources can rapidly intensify and shift water demand, and because each new generation of water projects tends to be more energy-intensive. Given these realities, countless studies and conversations focus on ‘finding the water’ to support new energy developments and technologies, and ‘finding the energy’ to power new water developments. But in doing this, the primary lesson of the water-energy nexus is distorted if not lost entirely; namely, that demand management should be the focus of both water and energy management, and that successes in either sector offer conservation benefits for both. It is not a complicated message, but it is consistently subordinated in policy discussions for a simple reason: it does not fit the prevailing management paradigm, especially as it applies to the water sector.

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For too long, the tradition in water resources management has been to view all existing demand as inherently legitimate and largely immutable, to assume growing populations and economic activity cannot be sustained without an inevitable increase in demands, and to thus define the role of water management as the perpetual pursuit of supply-side solutions capable of meeting all demands at all times and under all conditions. Clearly, this supply-side paradigm is inconsistent with lofty notions of sustainability offered by academics and philosophers; but even more simply, it is difficult to justify on economic grounds, or even in terms of practical considerations such as risk management and security. Again, this is not a complicated or particularly new message. Although casespecific factors shift the numbers a bit from place to place, the environmental, economic and security benefits of demand management, in both sectors, have been well-documented in hundreds of locations worldwide.

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This is where exploring the water-energy nexus is, perhaps, most valuable. Many of the most basic tools of demand management applicable to the water sector first found acceptance in the energy sector. Tools as simple as metering and dynamic pricing structures are obvious examples, as are planning processes that aim to defer or eliminate the need for costly supply infrastructure expansions by managing peak demands. Many of us had hoped that the infusion of climate change considerations into water management discussions would have provided much needed support for the demand management paradigm, as limiting demands seems an obvious adaptive approach to dealing with the future supply uncertainties associated with a warming planet. But to the extent this happens, it is too frequently overwhelmed by the inherent supply-side focus that dominates climate change research. A focus on streamflows and water system yields is a point of disciplinary and substantive overlap between climate change scientists and water managers, reinforcing the notion that the management challenge is to understand and then manipulate supplies. This is where exploring the water-energy nexus is, perhaps, most valuable. Many of the most basic tools of demand management applicable to the water sector first found acceptance in the energy sector. Tools as simple as metering and dynamic pricing structures are obvious examples, as are planning processes that aim to defer or eliminate the need for costly supply infrastructure expansions by managing peak demands. In contrast, the tradition in water management is still to project demand without significant regard to price or management, and to focus on expanding infrastructure to meet projected peaks in demand. It is clearly too simplistic to suggest that the two sectors are polar opposites in this regard; the energy sector, like the water sector, is in the business of selling a product, so the management of demand is not likely to ever be the dominant paradigm unless there is a fundamental restructuring of fiscal incentives

in those industries. At least in the energy sector there is widespread conceptual recognition that both sides of the supply and demand balance are subject to management, and that in many cases, it is in society’s best interest to focus on the latter. Perhaps most encouraging for proponents of the demand-side paradigm are the efforts by researchers and decision makers to link actions in three substantive areas: water, energy and climate change mitigation. In California, for example, government has not only determined that one of the best strategies for meeting carbon dioxide emissions standards is to reduce energy consumption by reducing the demand for water, but has set about the restructuring of incentive structures to reward energy utilities who partner with water interests to implement such programs. Admittedly, it is somewhat disconcerting that it has taken this special amalgam of issues to shine a light on the opportunities and benefits of demand management in the water sector – and more specifically, the costs of the supply-side paradigm. Regardless of the path taken, the benefits of demand management in the water sector are increasingly difficult to ignore and the topic of energy is largely responsible for that transition. TWL Dr. Douglas S. Kenney is the Director of the Western Water Policy Program and Senior Research Associate at the Natural Resources Law Centre at the University of Colorado in Boulder. His areas of focus include governance, administration and field-level management of natural resources. Dr. Kenney can be reached at Douglas.Kenney@colorado.edu.

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The Role of Water Users & Manufacturers of Household Products in Achieving Water Sustainability jan-olof drangert

Š Paul Lachine

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We should pay more attention to what we put into the tap water while using it, since the quality of the raw wastewater decides the standard that can be achieved for the treated water and sludge.

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hile we understand that ‘what goes up, must expected to catch in the sludge.2 come down’, it is sometimes difficult to grasp WWTPs are not even built to sort out all these that ‘what we produce and use will end up some- chemicals, and typically they test for 10 -20 indicators to where.’ Our wish to enjoy what we produce may block determine the effluent quality. Far from all compounds our inclination to understand the issues. This point can are hazardous, but several hundred of them are on the be illustrated with wastewater flows. We enjoy shampoo European Union watch list. We can only hope that all to wash our hair, use a solvent to clean fingernails and compounds will adsorb to particles and be immobilised to wear a newly washed in the sludge. Rarely do shirt, but we tend to igwe address the source of nore that simultaneously most of the pollution – these activities produce our chemical society. polluted wastewater. We should pay more In the 1950s, manuattention to what we put facturers started mass into the tap water while production of chemiusing it, since the qualcally designed household ity of the raw wastewater products. Before that, we decides the standard used the same biodegradthat can be achieved for able soap for washing hair, the treated water and showering, household sludge. If utilities take on cleaning and for laundry. users – households and In the 1960s, foam in industries – as partners in rivers from newly introprotecting the wastewaduced detergents and ter quality, the prospect high levels of mercury in of recycling water and dead birds were the first sludge content improves Figure 1. Flows of Chemical Compounds In the Urban Water Cycle signals of dangers ahead. radically. A utility can, for Now, we live in a full-scale chemical society with little instance, inform users of its limited ability to treat certain readiness to put pressure on manufacturers to design chemicals and other unwanted compounds, and the users environmentally benign products.1 might refrain from using certain products. The aim is to Today, a normal urban household uses some 30,000 save nature´s resources for future generations and still chemical compounds more or less regularly (Figure 1). enjoy a comfortable life today. These often turn up at Wastewater Treatment Plants The more visible or tangible an environmental problem (WWTPs) as a mixed chemical cocktail that the utility is is, the more prepared people are likely to be to tackle it. For

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instance, if users know that the water they discharge is to be emissions of carbon dioxide may push the planet out of a treated and used again by them – and that the utility cannot resilient equilibrium to a new equilibrium (Figure 2) which treat it well enough – the residents become more willing to is undesirable for human life.3 Already, humanity may have reduce the kind and volume of harmful household products. used up some of the planet´s buffering capacity. Nature’s They are also likely to support more stringent regulations to response may be the irreversible melting of the Arctic ice cap control what manufacturers are producing. For example, to within the next two centuries with a raised water level of seven replace phosphate in detergents to avoid algae bloom in wa- metres. Another scenario is that deforestation and global ter bodies or to stop buying toothpaste containing the bac- warming may turn the Amazonian rainforest into a savannah tericide triclosan, which is toxic to water-loving organisms. with dramatic consequences for the climate and the planet. The effluent is often  The water diluted to reduce sector is part of this the concentration of global change, and The planet is resilient pollutants. While this it has to reduce disbut humans can push it over a threshold is helpful to protect charges and wastages human health, it of nutrients such as makes no difference phosphorus and nifor the environment, trogen, and conserve since the total load energy and fresh is what decides the water. To achieve impact. A ban or buythis, utilities should ers’ boycott of certain have a sustainability environmentally unmandate to alert the safe products (such as health authorities CFCs and solvents) and environmental remains the cheapest protection agencies Figure 2 and safest measure. on what chemicals, There is no one-time solution, however, since nutrients and other products they cannot manage. The new pathogens species are detected every year, and general public should not only be sensitised, but also be incentivised to participate in the efforts to reduce the manufacturers invent hundreds of new compounds discharge of pollutants into water. The responsibility to each year. The full impact of harmful products on the environment is only fully understood after several years. enhance the situation by designing biodegradable prodTherefore, residents cannot keep track of the full impact of ucts that can be recycled should be with the manufacturers rather than with water utilities. They possess both the all their wastes on the environment. Good environmental knowledge and the resources to do just that. Thus they governance requires that the society at large becomes should be encouraged, and if necessary, forced to meet this more interested in limiting flows of harmful compounds as much as they are interested in new products to enhance important challenge in order to protect human and enviquality of life. Fortunately, globalisation not only brings ronmental health. Anything less would be unethical. TWL new products to all markets, but may also help spread Dr. Jan-Olof Drangert is an Associate Professor of Water and Enviinformation about harmful product and compounds. Individual choices and routines do count when we are six ronmental Studies at Linköping University, Sweden. An expert in to nine billion people on earth. An emerging understanding ecological and sustainable sanitation with over 25 years experience working in Sweden, India, Vietnam, South Africa, and East is that global challenges may have irreversible impacts on the status of our planet. Scientists are now considering if human Africa, he is actively coordinating research groups and conducting international training activities in sanitation and water issues. Dr. impacts on the globe are, taken together, so dramatic that the jan-olof.drangert@liu.se total effect of deforestation, phosphorus discharges to oceans, Drangert can be reached at ENDNOTES 01 Drechsel, P., Scott, C. A., Liqa, R.-S., Redwood, M., & Bahri, A. (Eds.). (2010). Wastewater Irrigation and Health: Assessing and Mitigating Risk in Low-Income Countries. London; Sterling, VA: EarthScan, International Development Research Centre, International Water Management Institute. 02 Drangert, J.-O., Schönning, C., & Vinnerås, B. (2010). Sustainable Sanitation for the 21st Century. Retrieved from Vatema AB: http:// www.sustainablesanitation.info/ 03 Rockström, J., et al. (2009). Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity in the Anthropocene. Nature , 461, 472-75.

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LEE KUAN YEW WATER PRIZE 2012 CALL FOR NOMINATIONS HONOURING OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS TOWARDS SOLVING GLOBAL WATER PROBLEMS A water technopreneur who pioneered a ground-breaking solution in membrane technology. An environmental scientist with a breakthrough solution for used water treatment. An innovative organisation that transformed the lives of millions through integrated river basin management. A technologist who revolutionised used water treatment. What do they have in common? Be it innovative technologies or holistic water management policies, the achievements of Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize laureates, Dr Andrew Benedek, Professor Gatze Lettinga, the Yellow River Conservancy Commission and Dr James Barnard, represent the pinnacle in sustainable water solutions that have made a difference to lives around the world. Singapore International Water Week is now calling for nominations for the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2012. The highlight of the Water Week, the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize recognises outstanding contributions towards solving global water problems by either applying revolutionary technologies or the implementation of innovative policies and programmes that benefit humanity. This prestigious international award is named after Singapore’s former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who through his foresight and leadership, has enabled Singapore to attain sustainable water supply. A highlight of:

Prize Sponsor:

Nominations for the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2012 are now open until 31 October 2011. For more information, visit www.siww.com.sg or email leekuanyewwaterprize@siww.com.sg.


Improving Water Supply when Institutions & Actors are Messy: The Entrepreneurial Path boyd fuller

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ocal innovations can improve water supply and sanitation even when actors’ capacities are weak, institutions are incomplete or inhospitable, and funds are scarce. Such innovations require entrepreneurship, regulatory flexibility and negotiation. The latter is especially important where governments are also promoting accountable and predictable regulatory systems to encourage private sector investment. Why consider the promotion of local innovation rather than institutional reform? Governments adopt reforms to fix institutions, increase capacity and generate funds. Such reforms are often implemented more slowly and incompletely than intended. At the same time, criticising these shortcomings is only partially useful. After all, if institutions are easy to change and capacities easy to create, then significant reform efforts would not be needed. Furthermore, municipalities and water utilities have found ways of improving service despite messy institutions and politics. Some of these success stories occur when local municipalities create and fund their own innovative solutions, rather than borrowing the expertise and resources of the external and private sector actors. Many developing country governments are encouraging such local innovations, especially as shortcomings in service provision remain and private sector efforts such as privatisation and public–private partnerships yield mixed results. Local actors have knowledge about their context that national and international actors do not and they also often have untapped resources. However, mobilising these resources can be difficult because (a) government and non-government

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actors do not trust each other’s capacities and intentions; (b) regulators do not have the expertise or resources to evaluate the innovations local actors propose; and (c) regulators are also responsible for making the predictable and accountable regulatory environments demanded by private investors and other non-government actors. Brazil is one country that has recently been encouraging greater local innovation and participation through its water policies. Brazil enacted a Water Law in 1997 that provided multiple opportunities and programs for greater participation by local actors in water provision.1 In practice, however, many elements of this reform have not been implemented. State agencies still do most of the work and agency staff and local stakeholders are both reluctant to trust each other enough to take the initiative to mobilise local resources and capacities. In this environment, much can be learned from the struggles and breakthroughs of the municipalities in Região dos Lagos in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro.2 A preferred tourist destination for Brazilian and international travellers, the region’s distinctive character was threatened by growing pollution. Untreated sewage from the region’s numerous towns began to fill up the region’s lagoons, killing the fish that provided sustenance to the local fishing industry as well as degrading the aesthetics of the region. Water for the region’s municipalities is provided by a concessionaire. This contract had no provisions for improving sanitation. In 1999, the municipalities convened the Inter-Municipal Consortium (IMC) of the Lagos São João as a forum to tackle the


Local actors have knowledge about their context that national and international actors do not and they also often have untapped resources.

problems of its degrading environment. The IMC included representatives from local environmental groups as well as the region’s 12 local governments.3 The group quickly identified untreated sewage as the primary source of its problems. Unfortunately, their contract with the concessionaire did not require the latter to provide a higher level of sanitation. Discussions between the municipalities and the concessionaire revealed that constructing sewage treatment plants was feasible but that transporting the sewage to the treatment stations would require a costly network of drains. Based on its knowledge of local conditions, the IMC proposed that the storm water drains be used to transport the sewage to treatment stations. The region does not receive much rain for most of the year and sewage collection could be halted when it did. The IMC calculated that such a system would require about 30 per cent of the investment that a traditional system would require. This innovative solution, based on knowledge of local conditions and funded by local resources, was exactly what the pro-participation policies want to encourage. The municipalities faced two regulatory hurdles, however. First, the state energy and sanitation services regulatory agency’s (AGENERSA) regulations forbade the use of storm water drains for sewers. Second, the same agency and the local communities were initially reluctant to approve the tariff increases that would be necessary to secure the concessionaire’s interest in undertaking the project. To make a long story short, the IMC made its innovation happen by successfully negotiating with (a) AGENERSA to grant an exception for the use of the storm water drains and later to allow the increased tariff; (b) the communities to support the increased tariff; and (c) the concessionaire to take on the additional responsibility in return for higher tariffs. What can be learned from this experience? First, local innovations can occur and be successful even when policies and regulatory systems are inhospitable when actors follow an entrepreneurial pathway to reform. Tankha and I argue that there are two pathways to reform as countries move from low capacity and motivation to high capacity and motivation.

The first path is bureaucratic, in which capacity is built up before reform is pursued. The second path is entrepreneurial, in which inspired actors attempt reform before the institutions and actors are fully ready for it. Here, capacity is built also through experimentation. The entrepreneurial path allows for reform at a smaller scale even when national capacity in terms of policies, organisations and actors are inhospitable to broader reforms. Motivation Weak Capabilities

Strong

Weak Strong

Figure 1: Reform Implementation: The Bureaucratic and Entrepreneurial Paths (Tankha and Fuller 2010)

Second, such reforms require government and nongovernment actors to engage in negotiation, especially when cities and other actors also seek private sector investment. Local innovations can require some regulatory flexibility and yet the private sector seeks regulatory clarity, predictability and accountability. Currently, there is no tested design for these concurrent demands on the regulatory system, but multi-stakeholder negotiations, if handled well, can provide the political support for experimentation while still providing accountability through participation and commitment to predictable rules and processes. Experimentation, if supported, can help fill gaps in service provision that imperfect institutions currently fail to do and provide the knowledge necessary for future design. TWL Dr. Boyd Fuller is an Assistant Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore with 8 years of experience designing and implementing water supply projects in developing countries. He is currently researching the use of traditional and innovative dispute resolution techniques for public disputes on difficult water, environmental, and land conflicts in postconflict areas of Southeast Asia. Dr. Fuller can be reached at boyd.fuller@nus.edu.sg.

ENDNOTES 01 Tankha, S., & Fuller, B. (2010). Getting Things Done: Bureaucratic and Entrepreneurial Approaches to the Practice of Participatory Water Management Reforms in Brazil and India. Water Policy , 12 (S1), 84-103. 02 Fuller, B., & Tankha, S. (2011). Tempered Responsiveness through Regulatory Negotiations in the Water Sector: Managing Unanticipated Innovations Emerging from Participation Reforms. In D. S. Jarvis, M. Ramesh, W. Xun, & J. E. Araral (Eds.), Infrastructure Regulation: What Works, Why and How Do We Know? Singapore: World Scientific. 03 Pereira, L. (2007). A Gestão Participativa no Caso do Saneamento da Região dos Lagos, Rio de Janeiro. Revista Disente Expressões Geográficas , 3, 10-41.

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Institutional Revamping to Achieve Better Public Water Utilities: Bridging the Gap between Policies & Desired Outcomes andrea restrepo-mieth

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© Li Dan

rban settlements in developing countries are facing mounting challenges associated with rapid urbanisation, budgetary constraints and growing population demands. Water utilities in these countries, particularly, tend to bear the brunt of these challenges. Both utilities and their related government agencies find themselves ill-equipped to take action in expanding water coverage and improving water services. In order to enable them to work better and achieve synergistic outcomes, public management needs to incorporate changes in institutional norms, organisational structures, and leadership. A recent informal study conducted by the author examined the expansion of water services in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Interviews with ministry officials, the regulator and the utility revealed a significant gap between the government’s desired outcomes as stated by government officials and the policies in place to achieve them.1 While the prevailing socio-political climate might have something to do with this gap, it is clear that most of it stems from the utility and the regulator being dis-empowered with the wrong tools as evidenced in the current legislation.2 While the government has established coverage, consumption and non-revenue water targets, the absence of appropriate organisational and institutional elements makes reaching these targets on time highly unlikely. Almost every discussion on water utilities begins with tariffs, and rightfully so, as it is critical for utilities to be financially viable. However, tariff reforms need first to be cognisant to all stakeholders and their reasons for support

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or resistance. Evidence of this is found in the 2009 attempt to increase tariffs in Vientiane. Poor public communication coupled with a lack of improvements in service quality led to widespread community dissatisfaction with the increase. Tariffs were later decreased in order to appease the public. An important institutional lesson drawn from this experience is that water utilities should ‘earn the right’ to increase tariffs by first gaining the public’s trust. To do so, utilities and government agencies should be able to convincingly show the public that every possible measure to increase efficiency in unit cost of supply has been taken.3 Even after ‘earning the right’, tariff setting can be affected by negative connotations associated with positive income. In many cities, the dominant paradigm is one where the government sees water utility losses as the norm, and is highly suspicious of utilities generating a profit. A paradigm shift is crucial: water must be viewed as a sustainable business in order for it to be structured as such. An important institutional change that must be considered by policy makers is the use of various active management techniques, including the use of positive incentives to improve performance within a utility, as opposed to using more passive management or negative incentives such as social unrest and frustration. For example, policy makers can use clear and tangible targets for utility managers as catalysts for performance improvement. Another example is to increase staff and management input into process changes in order to create more democratic and

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In order to enable them to work better and achieve synergistic outcomes, public management needs to incorporate changes in institutional norms, organisational structures and leadership. An important institutional lesson drawn from this experience is that water utilities should ‘earn the right’ to increase tariffs by first gaining the public’s trust. attainable performance indicators. Setting and monitoring targets helps to instill in all utility personnel a sense of ownership and pride in the continuous improvement of the water system. An underlying need for successful change brings up the necessity for utility autonomy. Political interference makes commercial operation very difficult and undermines the ability of the regulator to fulfill its role. Accountability will not be fostered into the management culture of a utility unless it is granted management autonomy to adjust, change and make decisions that affect their sustainability, particularly in the areas of finance and personnel. An insulated regulator, for its part, should have the independence and power to regulate and monitor the utility without political interference. Its ability to regulate is dependent on having a secured budget and dedicated personnel, otherwise the appeal to condition funding can lead to distorted outcomes. Transparency needed to gain stakeholder’s trust can only be achieved if the regulator is able to independently confirm data provided by the utility, which leads to a final point: data collection and management should not be overlooked. Accurate data is crucial to reliably assess management performance and most importantly, to gain better knowledge into opportunities to improve the utility’s operation – thus increasing efficiency and earning to right to set appropriate tariffs. The institutional changes mentioned above are not expected to be very effective in the short term, mainly because it takes time for new norms and practices to take hold. However, once these changes are embraced by the organisations,

their effects are likely to be significant and durable. The institutional, leadership and organisational characteristics dominating Vientiane’s current landscape reveal that the current structure is constraining rather than enabling: it delegates responsibilities to achieve desired outcomes, without delivering the tools. Yardstick competition, a growing understanding of the importance of water, and a dynamic review of water policies are present. However, management and staff motivation, economic signals, agency autonomy, well-defined water policies, incentives, sanctions, customer orientation, and a strong ‘water champion’ are absent. If these conditions are phased in along with incentives and sanctions, it will increase utility autonomy and efficiency. Essentially, the story of Vientiane has highlighted the importance of enabling utilities with the right tools, particularly within institutional and organisational frameworks, by the means of incorporating good management practices, strong political commitment and community support in order to meet their performance targets. It is only in doing so that the utilities in developing countries will be able to bridge the gap between outlined policies and meet desired outcomes. TWL Andrea Restrepo-Mieth graduated in June 2011 with a Master’s in Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. Prior to moving to Singapore, Andrea worked as an analyst with Deutsche Bank in New York. This article is based on research conducted during an internship with UNHabitat in Lao PDR in 2010. Ms. Restrepo-Mieth can be reached at restrepo.a@gmail.com.

ENDNOTES 01

A brief overview of the urban water sector in Lao including the government’s targets for 2020 can be found in, Mongphachan, S. (2010, 17-19 March). Urban Water Sector Regulation in Lao P.D.R: Reform, Key Measures, Successes, and Challenges. United Nations (UNCTAD). Retrieved 20 June 2011, http://www.unctad.org/sections/wcmu/docs/cImem3_2nd_LAO_en.pdf

02 The most recent effort to address this is found in the 2009 Water Supply Law which has yet to be implemented (Mongphachan, 2010) . 03 An excellent example of ‘earning the right’ is found in the early days of PPWSA under Ek Sonn Chan’s management. For more on this, see Araral, E. (2008). Public Provision for Urban Water: Getting Prices and Governance Right. Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration, Vol. 21. No.4.

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Sustainable Water Solutions in a Changing Urban Environment gatze lettinga

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Practically all the tools necessary for achieving a sustainable Environmental Protection System is within our reach, including the knowledge, technology, conceptualization, and increasingly, even the expertise.

ublic consciousness about the vital importance of implementing sustainable Environmental Protection Systems (EPS), particularly in the public sanitation sector in the urban environment, is gradually growing. However, is there more that can be done to increase sustainable water solutions in this environment? The recommendations made by the Brundtland Commission in their final report Our Common Future seem to show a good path. According to the Commission, the focus on an EPS is put on a number of issues, including the following:

they are recovered from, thereby creating a closed-loop system. Sixth and most importantly, all of this depends on the presence of visionary leadership that is driven by doing what is best for all the residents of that space. Current public sanitation practices leave much to be • Precluding the deliberate creation of pollution desired in terms of creating sustainable water solutions – they simply do not keep the pollutants concentrated problems; enough. Apart from that, these established systems gener• Achieving a maximum of resource recovery (and ally are very expensive, increasingly technologically comresource conservation); • Applying technically simple, economical and robust plex and consequently unacceptably vulnerable. Unfortuwastewater collection, transport and treatment nately, as our contemporary societies tend to complicate rather than simplify our waste treatment processes, we are systems; and moving further away from sustainable EPS. • Accomplishing a maximum of self-sufficiency at the Nevertheless, despite this pessimistic view, it is also site, in the community and/or region, and not merely true that practically all the tools necessary for achieving with respect to the realisation and the maintenance of a tidy habitat for all citizens, but also – wherever sustainable EPS are within our reach, including the knowledge, technology, conceptualization, and increasingly, possible – with respect to other primary needs of even the expertise. However, in order for sustainable water citizens, such as their energy and food production and solutions to be implemented, even with the technology health care. and knowledge, there is an absolute and critical need for the willingness and commitment to bring in the required How do you meet the high standards set out by this report? It is indeed possible to meet these demands, infrastructure (private business in the new field), and/or strong, visionary and democratically-controlled leadership but a variety of drastic changes need to be made in the and decision-making. Considering the current political clidomain of urban environmental protection. First, it is mate, the transition from traditional public sanitation to critically important to minimise the amount of clean the required appropriate EPS will need to be done in steps, water used for the collection, transportation and and over relatively prolonged periods of time. Moreover, treatment of waste. In this regard, water pollution needs regarding the huge investments already made in the past to be minimised at all costs. Second, and particularly in in traditional public sanitation, transitioning to EPS will this regard, very hazardous pollutants need to remain segregated from lesser hazardous pollutants, thereby need to be balanced, thereby mixing both systems in a way that will benefit the common and public good. TWL minimising the water footprint for treatment. Third, the recovery of useful by-products from the pollutants needs to be instilled. For example, nutrients like phosphate, Emeritus Professor Gatze Lettinga is a renowned expert in wastewaammonia and potassium, renewable energy (viz biogas), ter treatment technologies. He developed the revolutionary upflow soil conditioners, treated water and cultivated types of anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) technology that has since been sucbiomass can all be re-used for agricultural use. Fourth cessfully adopted in 80% of anaerobic-used water treatment systems worldwide. This invention led to him winning the Tyler Prize (2007) and moving further, valuable compounds within the pollutants should not be destroyed; rather they should be and the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize (2009). He is currently Advisor to the Lettinga Associates Foundation that develops and implements conserved, used and recycled. Fifth, recovered products such as nutrient rich phosphates or other recycled sustainable environmental protection technologies. Prof. Lettinga can be reached at Gatze.Lettinga@wur.nl. fertilizer, should be applied at or nearby the site where

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Sustainable Sanitation for the Urban Poor francis l. de los reyes iii

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ow are we going to meet the sanitation infrastructure needs in urban areas in developing nations, where a majority of the future growth in world population is expected to be? In these cities and megacities, the very poor are concentrated in crowded urban slums with no properly designed water or wastewater systems, very little space for future infrastructure, and very little capital for funding any kind of engineered sanitation system. How do you design wastewater collection and treatment for the millions who live in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, or the slums in Manila or Mumbai? The answer to someone like me, who grew up

in a poor country, and then studied water and wastewater engineering in a developed country, is clear: we cannot rely on the technical solutions of the past. In these urban slum communities, wastewater collection via expensive sewers and treatment in giant centralized facilities is simply not feasible. This is not a new idea: wastewater folks are slowly warming to the idea that decentralised systems (and even simplified sewerage) will be keys to achieving sustainable sanitation infrastructure. However, even small-scale decentralised systems face challenges in the urban setting. One obvious issue is cost,1 and another is land availability. Slum residents rarely

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have the disposable income necessary to pay for sanitation in- from extracting benefit from human waste. Examples of waste frastructure or services. Further, these often unplanned and as resource include conversion to energy (e.g., using anaerobic burgeoning communities lack the land for constructing wet- treatment to yield methane), or conversion to useful nutrients lands or other soil/plant-based systems. It is hardly surprising (e.g., as fertilizer). One can make theoretical calculations that therefore, to see urban slum residents turn to practices that show either approach can be profitable – i.e. have payback damage the environment and threaten public health: open periods in the order of 10 years, without government subsidies defecation and hanging latrines for the poorest sectors, and for the initial cost of construction. However, more research is the use of septic tanks with effluents draining directly into needed to nail the actual economics under different scenarios. But if it is possible to create profit from sanitation (without storm drains and rivers for the slightly wealthier sectors. But all is not bleak; the sanitation and water community has made some progress in What is ultimately clear, is that the challenges recent years. A crucial advancement in the field is the realisation that technical approaches of providing sustainable sanitation for the alone will not lead to lasting and sustainable solutions. There is an increasing awareness urban poor requires new ways of thinking and cognisance of the importance of soft beyond the conventional sewer and centralised issues – social, cultural and political factors, the roles of women and children, and even human treatment paradigm that we learned in school. psychology – in the successful implementation and impact of community sanitation projects. burdening the poor), then widespread adoption around Thus, community-led sanitation systems emphasise the human aspects, and prioritise community involvement and the world becomes more realistic. One can imagine small behavioural change over technology. businesses thriving in slums, perhaps led by entrepreneurs in But the challenge is not simply to succeed community the community that are creating jobs and opportunities from by community, but to achieve massive scale-up and waste collection, treatment and disposal. Such a model is very widespread adoption, if we are to make a dent on the different from the traditional model of urban wastewater Sanitation Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).2 management, and more work is needed to show its feasibility. What is ultimately clear, is that the challenges of proMicroeconomics tells us that widespread adoption and scaleup is easier to achieve using a cheap technological solution viding sustainable sanitation for the urban poor requires new ways of thinking beyond the conventional sewer and than relying on changing human behavior. 3 In sanitation, a technology that is easy to use, easy to maintain, easy to clean, centralised treatment paradigm that we learned in school. that minimises user contact with waste, and has direct and We have to start thinking outside the conventional norms to figure out better and more effective solutions. TWL indirect incentives (e.g., a sense of pride of ownership) will win out over technologies that need intensive community organising to succeed. The challenge then is to design Dr. Francis L. de los Reyes III is an Associate Professor of Environthese technologies so that these incentives are in line with mental Engineering at the North Carolina State University. His the common good (in economics speak, take advantage of research interests include analysis of the microbial processes in inpositive externalities). dustrial and domestic wastewater treatment systems, landfills, and One approach is to separate the household from the groundwater remediation sites. He is on the editorial board of actual collection and treatment of their wastes, and design a Water Research, was a 2008 Balik-Scientist of the DOST, and is a system where it becomes profitable for small (perhaps even 2009 TEDIndia Fellow. He is a member of the Philippine-American community-led) businesses to handle a community’s waste. Academy of Scientists and Engineers. Prof. de los Reyes III can be The profit comes not from extracting fees from the poor, but reached at fldelosr@eos.ncsu.edu.

ENDNOTES 01 See Mara, D., et al. (2005, June). The Ecosan Debate Continues: Responses to Bill McCann's 'The Sanity to Ecosan'. Water21, 15-17. Can be downloaded from http://cgi.tu-harburg.de/~awwweb/susan/downloads/water21ecosan_discussion.pdf 02 Target 7c of the UN Millennium Development Goals mandates halving, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. The Millenium Development Goals Report (2010), United Nations. http:// www.un.org/millenniumgoals/environ.shtml 03 For more examples, see Levitt, S. D., & Dubner, S. J. (2009). SuperFreakonomics. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

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waterdotorg

The Case for Independent Water-related Organisations in Developing Countries james l. barnard

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e all know that water is precious and, we know that pressure on this precious resource will only increase with rapid population growth, in particular, but not exclusively, in developing countries. It is not only a case of finding the water and making sure it gets to where it is needed, but also ensuring that it is beneficially used and recycled. It is a very expensive exercise and yet there is often a lack of skill and a level of professionalism at a very fundamental level. This can have dire consequences for a community. Re-use of water will become the norm rather than the exception and the need for the skills to design, build and operate used water treatment plants to produce high quality effluent will be in short supply in the future and will be worse in developing countries. Yet, it would appear that often those in charge do not care to manage this situation properly. It is here that non-government bodies can play a crucial role in setting standards, monitoring situations and inspiring individuals. If this happens in conjunction with strong government policies, so much the better. We all have anecdotal evidence of what happens when government policies are not in line with fundamentals. Professor Gatze Lettinga, the 2009 Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize winner, told the story of a multi-million dollar power-producing Up-flow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) installa-

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tion in Accra, Ghana, for the treatment of used water, where there was a lack of interest by the authorities to pay decent wages for operators. The operators then left, which rendered the plant useless. In a similar but even less expensive installation in South Africa, the flow was by-passed since the main sewer was blocked and raw effluent flowed down a stream for the better part of a year. In this case, the responsible persons were asked why they did not unblock the sewer. The answer was ‘we are too highly paid to do such dirty work.’ Another negative about higher pay by itself is that through corrupt practices, the work is given to family and cronies that have no interest in the operation and who are not held responsible. Just recently, it was reported in the South African Parliament, that there was a SAR 1bn ($150 m) irregularity in management and procurement in the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs – this in a country with limited financial and water resources. Lack of leadership and political will often stands in the way of proper training and certification. Without these, there is no chance that even elementary treatment systems can function. What we need then is to raise the status and degree of professionalism in the governance mechanism. Apart from establishing a regulatory agency with training and certification, respect and pride in employment is needed

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...I have been asked many times what prompted the development of the biological nutrient removal processes in South Africa and my answer is that it was primarily as a result of the very active non-governmental association [to a local Institute]... above all. The question is how to achieve this? Awards and incentives for good performance, which have shown to be a great incentive in developed countries should also work in developing countries once an infrastructure to administer this has been set up. While enhancing the performance of those in regulatory bodies, it is also important to introduce severe penalties to those who infringe the regulations put in place to achieve good governance. In addition, keeping the people informed and involved and to have their input, as is done in Singapore, contributes to the knowledge and respect for those responsible. When even the poorest people, usually ignored, feel they have some input, they can be trusted to respect the system and comment on inequities when observed. A holistic approach is required with the establishment of non-government associations which could contribute to good governance. These non-government associations should allow for the interaction of professionals and technologists at universities, local governments, contract operators and eventually, with international organisations, without dictates from the central government. The main objective should be to establish the position of a plant manager or operator as a prestigious position with responsibility for the proper operation of the plant, as well as authority to determine what is discharged to the plant. This sense of responsibility and the prospect of contact with peers around the world will establish these tasks as professions with standing in the eyes of the government and the people. Included in contract operations for managing, operating and maintaining the treatment plant, should be a plan for the training of operators to a sufficient level to manage the plant and mentor other staff. In developing countries, this training and mentoring should then fit in with an overall government plan for the establishment of and support of a non-governmental organisation for water affairs. I have been asked many times what prompted the development of the Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) processes in South Africa and my answer is that it was primarily the result of the very active non-governmental association which was a branch of the British Institute for Sewage Purification. They later changed the name and joined some other similar institutes to form the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM). Through voluntary work, courses were arranged

for after-hours by CIWEM, by which the more experienced members passed their knowledge on to the younger generation who grew up being active in the Institute. As a civil engineer, I lacked skills in this area and I was greatly impressed by the Institute and its activities. Meeting with professionals from other disciplines and with treatment plant managers and operators, had a value that no government organisation offered. It was through the Institute that I took my first steps in environmental engineering and it was through the Institute that the initial work on BNR was disseminated. The extraordinary amount of voluntary work of similar institutes around the world resulted in unimaginable benefits to the world, especially to the developed countries. It should be a high priority to establish such institutes in developing countries so that they too can reap the benefit of the interaction on national and international levels. Many organisations like the International Water Association, the Water Environment Federation, Water for People and other NGOs are already reaching out to developing countries. However, if developing countries are to benefit from such interactions, it is essential that there is political will, freedom from corruption and recognition of the importance of the environment to the health and progress of the community, in the countries concerned. In the circumstances, I would strongly encourage persons in positions of power to give consideration and to seek help from international bodies to set up such organisations in their own countries where local plant operators, designers and academics can exchange views and set up guidelines applicable to their local conditions. In the beginning this may need some funding, but no money could be better spent. It often takes courage for governments to admit that they need help to manage a resource efficiently, but if they are truly dedicated to safeguarding this precious resource, then this is the only route to go. TWL Dr. James L. Barnard, has pioneered new wastewater treatment processes designed to protect the world's receiving waters and rove the communities that depend on them. He is currently a global practice and technology leader for Black & Veatch Corporation based in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. He is the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, to be awarded during SIWW. Dr. Barnard can be reached at barnardjl@bv.com.

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Is Public-Private Partnership Obsolete? claude ménard

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ublic-Private Partnership (PPP) has been and remains high on the agenda of public decision makers, particularly with respect to reforms in the water and sanitation sectors. The World Bank Group has created a specific entity, the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), in charge of following up the development of these arrangements. The European Commission has delivered a Green Paper on the issue (European Union 2004). The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has produced several related reports on the viability of PPP. Further, the topic feeds, agenda, publications of numerous think thanks and renowned consulting firms, and the number of conferences and publications on this topic is impressive. Thus, a question that naturally comes to mind is what is all this buzz about? To what extent does it correspond to what is going on in the ‘real’ world? Is this a myth, a panacea or an irreversible movement? From a New Institutional Economics perspective, PPP is primarily a contractual approach to building network infrastructures and delivering public goods and services. However, it is a very special contractual practice: it intends to introduce market-type relationships in a context in which non-market forces play a major role. Indeed, PPP refers to various forms of sharing rights (decision rights and in most cases property rights) between public authorities and private operators, with the delivery of goods and services of ‘general interest’ as the goal. A more restrictive view focuses on contracts associated to the delivery of ‘critical services’,

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such as water and sanitation, energy, transportation, understood as essential to avoid economic or social disruptions.1 In all cases, PPP differentiates itself from other modes of delivering utility services such as total privatisation or total public management, the key difference being the transfer of risks across public-private boundaries. As PPP bring together private entities and public authorities as partners, the identity of the parties involved matters and has three important consequences: • a legal one, since one party (the public authority) also defines the rules of the game and exert some control over the implementation and respect of the contract; • an economic one, since one party (the public authority) assessing costs and benefits of PPP also acts as subrogate for stakeholders (users) who are not residual claimants and have little control over the specific actions of that party; and • a political one, since goods and services are provided to users who also vote, at least in democratic regimes, thus exposing the public partner to third-party opportunism, for example consumer groups, environmentalists, etc. As a result, institutional endowments as well as institutional design (for example regulatory agencies) in which PPP are embedded are key factors in the decision to choose such an arrangement and its resulting performance. Part of the PPP failures comes out of the dissatisfaction

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of users with respect to the high expectations when PPPs are initially introduced. Indeed, economists, relayed by lobbyists and followed by international organisations, have voiced many virtues to be expected from the partial substitution of private operators to often inefficient, pure public delivery. The core argument is that PPP would allow major gains in efficiency, thanks to incentives coming out of identifiable residual claimants.2 PPP would be particularly suitable when full privatisation is not possible or very hard to implement, because of strategic issues (as in the defense sector), or risks associated with major long-run sunk costs (as in water and sanitation), or of public resistance to the loss of control over critical resources (as with energy). However, the success of PPPs depends not only on the appropriate design of contracts, but on the capacity of existing institutions, and the capacity to develop new institutions in order to implement and monitor them properly. This requires putting aside ideological convictions of pros and cons, and acknowledging facts about the actual performance of

Š Paul Lachine

PPP would be particularly suitable when full privatisation is not possible or very hard to implement, because of strategic issues (as in the defense sector), or risks associated with major long-run sunk costs (as in water and sanitation), or of public resistance to the loss of control over critical resources (as with energy). PPPs, their shortcomings with respect to promises of what they could deliver, and the possibility that they could fail state-owned enterprises under certain conditions. To sum up, the predominant neglect, if not total ignorance, among decision makers of the key role of institutional endowments and the institutional design in which to embed PPPs might well be a major source of disillusion that backfires against PPPs. Assessing properly institutional requirements before choosing an arrangement is therefore essential for the appropriate selection of what reform to implement along what rules. TWL Prof. Claude MĂŠnard is a Professor of Economics at the University of Paris and Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne (CES). His areas of research include interfirm agreements, and economics of infrastructures with an emphasis on water sectors. He is currently the coeditor of the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization and Director of the Advances in New Institutional Analysis series. Prof. MĂŠnard can be reached at Claude.Menard@univ-paris1.fr.

ENDNOTES 01 Moteff, J., Copeland, C., & Fischer, J. (2003, January 29). Report for Congress - Critical Infrastructures: What Makes an Infrastructure Critical? Retrieved from The Library of Congress: http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RL31556.pdf 02 Positive impact is expected on: (i) prices, since private partners have an incentive to reduce costs; (ii) productivity gains, since the allocation of labor force will escape politicisation; (iii) increased output since revenues depend directly on rate of connection and/or density and/or quality of services; (iv) self-sustainability, since private participation requires revenues superior to costs; (v) reduction of pressures on public finance; and last but not least (vi) reduction of political interference, thus reducing risks of corruption. the waterleader / JUNE 2011

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Water Governance Options for Developing Countries: Quo Vadis Public-Private Partnership? asanga Gunawansa

Š Paul Lachine

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rom the time the first civilisations settled in river basins, population growth and nation building have been linked to the availability of freshwater. Massive population growth since those earliest days and unsustainable use of water has made it a scarce resource. Thus, today, access to safe water is a global concern. While certain technological innovations can maximise the use of available water (for example recycling wastewater or desalinating water), technological advances cannot change the rate at which water is renewed in the global water circulation system. According to the United Nations (2010), water use increased six-fold during the 20th century, more than twice the rate of population growth.1 In many countries groundwater is being consumed faster than it is being replenished. Thus, managing water resources and developing facilities

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for sustainable water use to cater to growing populations has become a fundamental challenge for governments. The world population that was six billion in 2000 might increase by approximately 1.5 billion by the year 2025 and most of the growth would occur in the developing countries.2 As population increases and development calls for increased allocations of water for the domestic, agriculture and industrial sectors, the pressure on water resources would intensify, leading to tensions and conflicts among users, and excessive pressure on the environment.3 In the circumstances, the developing countries will continue to struggle to find the necessary funding for developing infrastructure projects in the water sector. Historically, public infrastructure has mainly been delivered by the public sector, using traditional procurement

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model for successfully engaging the private sector, to deal methods such as Design and Build, using public finance to with water demand in developing countries. award contracts to private sector contractors. The public sector entities have been in charge of the actual delivery However, if PPPs are to continue to offer viable alternaof services to the public. However, due to reasons such as tives for water governance, both public sector and private lack of financial capacity, technological constraints and sector entities need to better define and understand their want of management or operational skills, many developing respective roles. Water has remained and will remain a public country governments have tried to engage the private sector good. Thus, public sector entities will continue to play an in developing water infrastructure facilities during the last important role in water governance. Pure privatisation or two to three decades. Nevertheless, unregulated PPPs which allow private it has been impossible for public sector operators to develop highly Water has remained entities to completely renounce the profit-oriented and commercialised public duty associated with water. In projects, may not be sustainable due and will remain a public other words, implementing Public to public and political opposition good. Thus, public sector Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the against unreasonable pricing, which water sector has been difficult due to would put political pressure on entities will continue to a variety of reasons including public governments to rethink their policy play an important role in protests and political opposition on engaging the private sector in towards private sector engagement the water sector. Thus, public sector water governance. in a sector that has been traditionally entities and their private partners perceived as falling within the realm should work together, to ensure that of public duties of the state. This said, given the growing while PPPs in the water sector could recover the developpopulation and the demand for better services coupled with ment cost and yield reasonable profits; the key focus is on the financial and technological constraints, the developing providing a public service relating to a basic human need of country governments will have no better option to private the people. The importance of community engagement in sector participation in developing water infrastructure. the governance process should not be ignored, as educatAccording to the World Bank’s Public-Private ing the public that efficient water services could only be Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), although delivered at a cost, and such cost needs to be recovered for the population served by private operators have grown the sustainability of the service is important for the success from six million in 1991 to over 164 million in the year of PPPs. TWL 2000, as of 2009, only about seven per cent of the urban Dr. Asanga Gunawansa is an Assistant Professor at the School of population in the developing countries is served by private Design and Environment, National University of Singapore and is an sector operators of water.4 A mere seven per cent of the population being served by the private sector operators is Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. He is currently not enough to justify PPPs as a success in the water sector. the lead researcher in a collaborative project between IWP, an interHowever, PPIAF argues that of the 260 contracts awarded disciplinary group of international academics, and the Public Utilties since 1990, only nine per cent had been terminated. This Board (PUB) of Singapore to develop water governance and infrashows that the success rate of PPP projects is high, and structure development models that could be replicated across diverse thus there is more scope for using PPP as a procurement settings. Dr. Gunawansa can be reached at bdgasan@nus.edu.sg.

ENDNOTES 01 United Nations. (2010). Factsheet on Water and Sanitation. Retrieved April 26, 2011, from Water for Life Decade: http://www.un.org/ waterforlifedecade/factsheet.html 02 United Nations. (2008). Millennium Development Goals Report 2008. New York: United Nations. 03 Food and Agriculture Organisation. (2010). Hot Issues: Water Scarcity - Water & Poverty, An Issue of Life & Livelihoods. Retrieved April 27, 2011, from FAO Water Development and Management Unit: http://www.fao.org/nr/water/issues/scarcity.html 04 Marin, P. (2009). Public-Private Partnerships for Urban Water Utilities: A Review of Experiences in Developing Countries. Washington DC: World Bank.

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Water Governance: The Relevance of Price Policy peter rogers

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here is a lot of ‘gloom and doom’ literature about the future of global and regional water resources. The data reveals that there are many places in the world where water supplies per capita are decreasing rapidly, where food systems and municipalities are being severely compromised by lack of water, and where future access to water is increasingly precarious. However, globally we utilise less than 0.1 per cent of the annually renewable freshwater for cities. In my recent book, Running Out of Water with Susan Leal (2010), I argue that that we already have all the technologies that could help meet our global water needs until 2050, even in the most stressed situations; the major problems holding us back from moving from where we are now to where we should be in 2050 appear to be largely political and managerial bottlenecks, not technology or finance.1 In managing water as a resource, a number of stakeholders including government, municipalities, industries, and farmers have to decide for themselves how valuable water is for their own use, and if they provide it to others how much should they charge. This is where economic theory steps in; if property rights can be established then classical economic tools such as pricing can be used to ensure the efficient allocation of the resource among users. Unfortunately water is freely available as rain, but

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once it reaches the ground it takes on a wide range of property rights. In some places, it immediately becomes the property of the landowner upon whose land it falls; in others it becomes the property of the state; and, in between these two extremes are many differing property ownership regimes. It has the attributes of both public and private goods; it is at times pristine, and at times, badly polluted. As a result, access and ownership of water becomes a contentious subject among local users and among nations, and simple economic rules are difficult to apply. In applying economic theories of price to water there is confusion about three fundamental concepts of setting tariffs for water. These concepts are value, cost and price of water. The cost of water is relatively straightforward, and is well understood as being composed of operation and maintenance (O&M) costs, capital costs, opportunity costs, and costs of economic and environmental externalities. The value of water in use is less well-articulated by the users, and is composed of direct benefits to users, benefits from returned flows, indirect benefits, and even the intrinsic value of water for its own sake. Finally, there is the price which is the tariff set by the political and social system to ensure cost recovery, equity, and sustainability. The price may or may not include subsidies. Prices for water should not be

the waterleader / JUNE 2011


Prices for water should not be determined solely by costs or determined solely by costs or value, but it has to include value, but it has to include social, environmental and equity social, environmental and equity considerations. considerations. Any rational tariff should be designed with Any rational tariff should these definitions in mind. be designed with these definitions in mind. intensive conservation programme. Cases such as this emIndeed, setting tariffs involves many considerations which lie outside of the traditional purview of econom- phasise that there is a huge potential for demand responses ics. From the water utility point of view, the tariff must to innovative tariff reform. Of course, meeting our water challenges is not going attempt to maximise efficient allocation of the resource. to be costless. What are the actual amounts of investments They must also bring sufficient revenue. The tariff-setting needed and where are they going to come from? Based process, however, should avoid rate shocks and provide net revenue stability, and to ensure sustainability rates, on estimates by Booz Allan Hamilton, the $22.6 trillion must be forward looking. Above all, they must be easily global need (of this $15.8 trillion for Asia and Oceania) for all types of water infrastructure from 2005 until 2030 is a implemented. The rate structure must attempt to reduce administrative costs and not conflict with other govern- daunting number, but really how large is it compared with ment policies. It should promote resource conservation by the global GDP and expenditures in other social sectors?3 It turns out to be about 1.5 per cent of annual global GDP, including environmental costs. or as high as $120 per capita per year. Global spending on Water prices must also reflect supply characteristics like water quality, supply reliability and frequency of sup- health amounted to 4.3 per cent of GDP in 2005. Even so, ply. Tariff structure must vary depending on consumption this is likely to be very high as a percentage of income, to measurability. More sophisticated rate structures may also spend on water services for many of the poor people in Asia, account for daily peaks and seasonal variations in water Africa, and Latin America. It is expected however, that these demand. From the consumers’ point of view, water must be costs could be considerably reduced with more research and affordable and the public must understand the rate-setting development of sanitation innovations. Of course, the moprocess. Water users should perceive the tariff as fair and bilisation of these huge amounts of financial resources will rates should be equitable across customer classes. not come solely, or even mainly, from governments. In order to move forward at the speed needed to meet the rapidly Meeting these challenges cannot be done by simple increasing demand, there is a critical role for private sector marginal cost pricing; much more complex social and political analyses must be applied. The implication, how- investments. More to the point, these numbers indicate a huge potential opportunity for business. TWL ever, is not to abandon price as a major tool for managing and regulating urban water supplies as many suggest, but rather to be more sophisticated in applying the approach Prof. Peter Rogers is a Gordon McKay Professor of Civil and Envito price reform. For example, in a paper with Bhatia and ronmental Engineering at Harvard University. He is a senior advisor to the Global Water Partnership and a recipient of the MaassdeSilva (2002), we showed how to use prices to promote equity, efficiency and sustainability.2 The case of the Mas- White Visiting Scholarship, Guggenheim and Twentieth Century sachusetts Water Resource Agency reported in Running Fellowships, and the Warren A. Hall Medal of the Universities Out of Water, which used radical tariff reform to reduce Council on Water Resources. His most recent work is on sustainable municipal demand by 30 per cent over 20 years, is a good development in large cities in Asia. Prof. Rogers can be reached at example of successful and creative pricing coupled with an rogers@seas.harvard.edu. ENDNOTES 01 Rogers, P., & Leal, S. (2010). Running Out of Water: The Looming Crisis and Solutions to Conserve Our Most Precious Resource. New York: MacMillan. 02 Rogers, P., de-Silva, R., & Bhatia, R. (2002). Water is an Economic Good: How to Use Prices to Promote Equity, Efficiency and Sustainability. Water Policy , 4 (1), 1-17. 03 Doshi, V., Schulman, G., & Gabaldon, D. (2007). Lights! Water! Motion! Strategy & Business (46).

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© 2011 Aaron Jaffe/Circle of Blue

Beijing is setting nationally significant standards for retrofitting sewage treatment systems to recycle wastewater for use in flushing toilets, washing cars, greening urban parks, cooling thermal power plants and other gray water applications.

Choke Point China: Confronting Water Scarcity & Energy Demand keith schneider & j. carl ganter

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rucks, backhoes and thousands of men claw at the seams in the Daqing Shan open-pit coal mine, which is about an hour east of Baotou, China. The mammoth operation – operating 24/7 – is so deep that, from the ridge top, the equipment at the bottom looks like yellow grubs digging in the dirt. The expanse as seen from the summit of the Yinshan Mountain range of Inner Mongolia reveals China’s national drive to produce energy for its surging economy. The vast scene in the dry north, where most of China’s coal lies, also provides fateful clues to the country’s water future. Daqing Shan produces 30 million metric tons of coal annually – a little less than 4 per cent of the nearly 782 million metric tons produced in Inner Mongolia last year. By one measure, Daqing Shan is a stunning display of China’s determination to fuel its future. By another measure, the mine – which stretches miles in every direction – is a tableau of torturous modernisation. By 2020, China will produce one billion metric tons of coal more than it is currently producing. Reaching that

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level requires opening new mines in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Shanxi and other arid northern provinces. China certainly has enough coal to meet its demands. The globally significant question that has not been answered, though, is where China will find enough water – perhaps 20 billion cubic meters a year (5.3 trillion gallons) – to make developing these new coal reserves possible. Simply put, there is not enough water to both build the modern urban centres and manufacturing zones in the northern and western provinces – which have become the primary focus of China’s domestic development – and tap the region’s enormous coal reserves that power their growth. Tight supplies of fresh water are nothing new in a nation where 80 per cent of the rainfall and snowmelt occurs in the south, while just 20 per cent of the moisture occurs in the mostly desert regions of the north and west. What is new is that China’s growth is prompting the expanding industrial sector – which consumes 70 per cent of the nation’s energy – to call on the government to tap new energy supplies, particularly the enormous reserves of coal in the north.

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Three Trends Converging Stripped to its essence, China’s globally significant waterenergy choke point is caused by three converging trends:

Simply put, there is not enough water to both build the modern urban centres and manufacturing zones in the northern and western provinces – which have become the primary focus of China’s domestic development – and tap the region’s enormous coal reserves that power their growth.

• Production and consumption of coal has tripled since 2000 to 3.15 billion metric tons a year. Government analysts project that China’s energy companies will need to produce an additional billion metric tons of coal annually by 2020, representing a 30 per cent increase. Fresh water needed for mining, processing and consuming coal, accounts for the largest share of industrial water use in China, or roughly 120 billion cubic meters a year, more than a fifth of all the water consumed nationally; • Though national conservation policies have helped to limit increases, water consumption nevertheless has climbed to a record 599 billion cubic meters annually, which is 49 billion cubic meters (13 trillion gallons) more than in 2000. Over the next decade, according to government projections, China’s water consumption, driven in large part by increasing coal-fired power production, will reach 670 billion cubic meters annually – 71 billion cubic meters a year more than today; and • China’s total water resource, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, has dropped 13 per cent since the start of the century. In other words, China’s water supply is 350 billion cubic meters (93 trillion gallons) less than it was at the start of the century. That is as much water lost to China each year as flows through the mouth of the Yangtze River in eight months. Chinese climatologists and hydrologists attribute much of the drop to climate change, which is disrupting patterns of rain and snowfall. Markets in China and globally for grain, natural gas, oil, coal, steel, shipping and investment capital will be substantially influenced by this unfolding collision. Even as China has launched enormous new programs of solar, wind, hydro and nuclear power development, which tend to use much less water and generate much less carbon, energy market conditions will get worse without new supplies of coal, the source of 70 per cent of the nation’s energy and massive demands for water.

China is not alone in this water-energy showdown. Increasing energy demand and dropping fresh water reserves are two trends also in dramatic collision across the United States. Moreover, the speed and force of the collision is occurring in the places where urbanisation is highest and water resources are under the most stress: California, the Southwest, the Rocky Mountain West and the Southeast. China, unlike the US though, is responding with national resolve: massive cross-country infrastructure projects, ambitious water conservation programs in Beijing, high-technology power plants that use less water, and innovative water transfer agreements along the Yellow River. The Yellow River pilot programme of water rights trading requires new industries to invest in lining and repairing irrigation canals in exchange for the right to use the water. The upgrade annually saves millions of cubic metres of agricultural water that then get transferred to power plants in the region. At the same time, Beijing’s municipal government is acting with authority and some speed to avoid a water crisis. The city is relocating thirsty industries to the coast, regulating water prices, and cutting back on irrigated farmland. Beijing also is setting nationally significant standards for retrofitting sewage treatment systems to recycle wastewater for use in flushing toilets, washing cars, greening urban parks, cooling thermal power plants, and other greywater applications. With the decline of its water supplies, however, these national programmes may not be enough. Moreover, China’s challenge is the world’s challenge. With the scale and speed of its urbanisation, the country’s actions ripple through every market, every supply chain and every ecosystem. It offers an urgent and arguably the richest laboratory to explore and test the management of the world's fresh water from every dimension. TWL Keith Schneider is Senior Editor at Circle of Blue and J. Carl Ganter is Director and co-founder. Read a full 12-part reporting and research series about China’s water-energy struggle and its global ramifications, Choke Point China. www.circleofblue.org/waternews/featured-water-stories/chokepoint-china/

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photo essay

CHOKE POINT

CHINA Photo Š Aaron Jaffe/Circle of Blue

When these two tunnels beneath the Yellow River are completed by mid-decade, more than 35 million cubic 38 (9 billion gallons) of water a day will be transported from southern the waterleader JUNEcities 2011in the north. meters China to /thirsty


choke point china

Confronting Water Scarcity and Energy Demand in the World’s Fastest-Growing Economy PHOTOS | Aaron Jaffe and J. Carl Ganter

the waterleader / JUNE 2011

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photo essay

Photo Š J. Carl Ganter/Circle of Blue

A farmer outside Qibudi in China’s Yunnan Province surveys his field. Although it has been raining for days, the same field, where karst stone is beginning to poke through the topsoil, turns dry for eight months of the year. He carries household water three times daily from a hillside pond. He and his elderly father make do on six buckets of water each day.

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the waterleader / JUNE 2011


choke point china

By any measure, conventional and otherwise, China’s tireless advance to international economic prominence has been nothing less than astonishing. Over the last decade alone, 70 million new jobs emerged from an economy that this year, according to the World Bank and other authorities, generated the world’s largest markets for cars, steel, cement, glass, housing, energy, power plants, wind turbines, solar panels, highways, high-speed rail systems, airports, and other basic supplies and civic equipment to support a modern economy. Yet, like a tectonic fault line, underlying China’s new standing in the world is an increasingly fierce competition between energy and water that threatens to upend China’s progress. Simply put, according to Chinese authorities and government reports, China’s demand for energy, particularly for coal, is outpacing its freshwater supply. Circle of Blue—in collaboration with the China Environment Forum (CEF) at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars—dispatched teams of researchers and photographers to 10 Chinese provinces. Their assignment: to report on how the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy is achieving its swift modernization, despite scarce and declining reserves of clean fresh water. The result is Choke Point: China.

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photo essay

WATER AND COAL BY THE NUMBERS

27% 41% 119 70

of global energy needs are provided by coal. of the world’s electricity is fueled by coal. Years that proven coal reserves are estimated to last at current production levels. Countries that have recoverable coal reserves.

80 to 170 46% 2.2

Liters of water used per metric ton of coal washed.

Amount of the world’s coal supply that China produced in 2009. Billions of gallons of water used per year to produce 3.5 terawatthours in a typical 500megawatt coal plant.

Photo © J. Carl Ganter/Circle of Blue

Photo © Aaron Jaffe/Circle of Blue

Eastern Inner Mongolia, outside of Xilinhot, is a center of coal production in China. But much more coal lies below the surface, untapped because of water scarcity.

A construction worker is perched on the top story of Ningxia’s newly erected Shui Dong Gou Power Plant, slated to tap into China’s western coal reserves to generate electricity for the power-hungry eastern provinces.

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the waterleader / JUNE 2011


choke point china

Photo © J. Carl Ganter/Circle of Blue

Economic development has lifted 400 million Chinese from poverty to the middle class, giving young people like this Inner Mongolia teen more opportunities than their parents.

Photo © J. Carl Ganter/Circle of Blue

Photo © J. Carl Ganter/Circle of Blue

Crash programs to build highways, railways, airports, water transport systems, modern manufacturing bases and other equipment of a modern society have distinguished China for a generation.

China’s challenge this decade and beyond is to find a way, in one of the driest countries on Earth, to serve energy demands that now surpass any other nation’s.

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photo essay

Photo © Aaron Jaffe/Circle of Blue

Photo © Aaron Jaffe/Circle of Blue

ABOVE: The dark openings of two pipelines beneath the Yellow River, like eyes on a flat face of dirt and rock, are unblinking witnesses to the South-North Water Transfer Project. BELOW: Even with significant new water conservation policies and practices, the tunnels and canals of the South-North Water Transfer Project are considered essential to China’s development.

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the waterleader / JUNE 2011


choke point china

Photo Š Aaron Jaffe/Circle of Blue

Even as China builds some of the most efficient coal-fired power plants in the world, cooling them requires billions of gallons of water each year and soaring towers 45 the waterleader / JUNE 2011 — like this one in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.


photo essay

CHINA’S WATER/COAL RELATIONSHIP

How water resources compare to coal reserves in China’s provinces.

HEILONGJIANG

JILIN

LIAONING

XINJIANG INNER MONGOLIA

HEBEI

GANSU

BOHAI SEA NINGXIA

SHANXI

SHANDONG YELLOW SEA

QINGHAI HENAN

SHAANXI

XIZANG (TIBET)

SHANGHAI SICHUAN

HUBEI ZHEJIANG

CHONGQING HUNAN

INDIA LEGEND WATER RESERVES (billion m3) 0 - 30 91 - 120 31 - 60 121 - 150 61 - 90 151+

COAL RESERVES (billion tonnes) 0 - 3.0 9.1 - 12.0 3.1 - 6.0 12.1 - 15.0 6.1 - 9.0 15.1+

JIANGSU ANHUI

JIANGXI FUJIAN

GUIZHOU

TAIWAN

YUNNAN GUANGXI

GUANGDONG

Source: 2009 China Statistical Year Book

SOUTH CHINA SEA

HAINAN

CHINA’S CHOKE POINT

60

ABOVE: China’s water and energy reserves by province. RIGHT: China’s water withdrawal and energy use by the numbers. In 2000, the annual renewable water resources in China were 2,770 billion cubic meters per year. By 2009, that number had dropped to 2,418 billion cubic meters per year, representing a decline of nearly 13 percent. In other words, since the beginning of the century, China has lost the equivalent of 350 billion cubic meters every year, which is the same amount of water that flows through the mouth of the Mississippi River in nine months.

Total energy use (thousand terawatthours) actual projected

40

20 0 85

675 650 625

90 95 00 05 08 09 10 20 30

Total water withdrawal (billion cubic meters = trillion liters) actual projected

600 575 550 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 30

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Source: China Statistical Year Book 2010 Projections from China National Energy Administration and Ministry of Water Resources


choke point china

Photo Š Aaron Jaffe/Circle of Blue

Outside Beijing, in the driest winter in 60 years, the search is on for new water supplies.

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, Imphal East

Sanitation for All Using Social Enterprise: An Assessment of Selected Models & Considerations for Public Policy shahana sheikh

48

India Water Portal

a Memorial School,Yuremba

, Santilat Ksh. Rajesh Singh, Class: IX

T

he persistent lack of proper sanitation worldwide has a significant impact on human health and is directly related to the income levels of individuals. Poor levels of sanitation are estimated to have an economic cost of about USD 35 billion.1,2 In most developing countries, governments have been tasked with providing sanitation systems, because it is considered to be a public good. However, due to high capital costs of installation of these systems and, since improved sanitation gives few immediate tangible results, many governments of developing countries lack the means and motivation to provide sanitation for all their citizens. Evidence suggests that out of all development interventions, sanitation brings the single greatest return on investment in the long run, at the rate of nine dollars for every dollar spent.2 Probably as a result of this, and of slow government initiatives, there has been a recent shift to a social enterprise-led approach in developing countries to provide and/or improve sanitation.

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India Water Portal

Ksh. Jonshon Singh, Class XI, Model

Hr. Sec. School,Yurembam, Imphal Eas

t

sanitation. However, they face Recently, there has been Evidence suggests that out of significant challenges in terms an increased emphasis on of their growth and execution ecological sanitation which all development interventions, in connection with replication, has turned a murky and difsanitation brings the single sustainability, scalability and ficult problem into a growing business opportunity. In business-orientation. greatest return on investment in ecological sanitation, human For example, in India, the long run, at the rate of nine waste is turned into fertiliser replication and sustainability for farmers, and in thus closing – for Sulabh International and dollars for every dollar spent. Gram Vikas and in Bangladesh the loop, has created a bevy of for BRAC-WASH – continue business opportunities for the to be contingent upon the relationships that these populations they are serving. Points at which an enterprise organisations have with the local institutions including opportunity lie, within such a sanitation system, include communities and local government administrations. everything from the manufacture of toilet components and construction materials, credit/payment facilities, dis- Furthermore, in some cases, such as 'Sanitation as a tribution, construction and installation, operation and Business in Malawi', this depends on the extension of maintenance of the sanitation system to the manufacture, desludging systems. Lack of political support, in addition to cost concerns, have been central to restricting the scale of treatment, and distribution of compost to farmers. In addition to ecological sanitation, a growing number projects such as the rural sanitation marketing project in of other social enterprise-led businesses are being under- Vietnam. Initiatives by Shramik Sanitation Systems (India), taken in parts of Asia and Africa to meet the demand for Ecotact (Kenya), Dignified Modified Toilets (Nigeria),

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and the sanitation marketing project in Cambodia have of predominant sanitation marketing has been described business-oriented models which would aid their replication as ‘outsider social marketing’ because it has been largely and sustainability. pioneered by sanitation sector specialists rather than beHaving studied these models to some extent, the follow- haviour change or marketing experts. ing policy considerations have surfaced as significant in Promotion of open defecation-free communities: this space: While institutional and political support is crucial for imLocalised policies: At an international level, access to plementation of sanitation social enterprise models, they clean water and sanitation would be more effective has been declared a human when there is zero tolerance right. This has translated for open defecation. Such Probably as a result of this, and as a into national level communities would increase result of slow government initiatives, sustainability of sanitation policies and campaigns. However, they are not solutions. This is because there has been a recent shift to a yet fully reflected in local even if one family continues government strategies and to practice open defecation, social enterprise-led approach in funding priorities. it will not be a case of sanitaDeveloping institution for all. developing countries to provide and/ tional capacity: For the In conclusion, it is or improve sanitation. translation of policy into evident that ‘business as action, institutional capaciusual’ has failed to address ties need to be strengthened. the improvements required Sufficient institutional capacity can enable replication, as it in the sanitation sector. It is also clear that without allows for learning and application across different contexts, mainstreaming social enterprise efforts, sanitation for all and enhances sustainability. may not be achievable. There is an increasing need to shift Involving non-governmental players: Many social away from demand-driven improvement, to fostering enterprise approaches in the field of sanitation are work- market-based performance-oriented and incentiveing well. To replicate and scale these up, local governments driven transactions among consumers and suppliers of need to allow them to participate in sanitation provision sanitation products. This would allow social enterprises by either adopting a franchise business model or a public- in this sector to scale up their operations and benefit private-partnership (PPP) model. Due to private and pub- society in a significant way. TWL lic good components of sanitation, a government support component is justified. In place of direct cash subsidy for Shahana Sheikh graduated in June 2011 with graduate degrees in construction of toilets, this could be in the form of partial Public Policy and Public Administration from Lee Kuan Yew School funding of capital costs to start manufacturing of sanitary of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and London equipment and/or costs incurred on acquiring land for set- School of Economics and Political Science. This article is based on a research paper written by the author as a part of an Independent ting up desludging plants or laying sewer lines. Study Module at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NaMarketing sanitation differently: Social enterprises tional University of Singapore. A complete version of this paper often market the person behind the idea and not the idea itself. While due importance needs to be given to the con- will be appearing in the inaugural issue of Institute of Water Policy (NUS) Staff Papers released in June 2011. Ms. Sheikh can be cerned person or people, details of the social enterprise reached at ssheikh19@gmail.com. model should not be forgotten. Furthermore, the nature

ENDNOTES 01 The economic cost includes those incurred from infant deaths, lost work days and missed school. 02 WaterAid. (2007). Report 2 - The State of the World's Toilets 2007. Retrieved from WaterAid Website: http://www.wateraid.org/ documents/the_state_of_the_worlds_toilets_2007_1.pdf; Kallidaikurichi, S. (2009, December 2). Total Sanitation is Key to Sustainable Human Development: Lessons from Singapore’s Journey to Total Sanitation. Retrieved from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy: http://www.spp.nus.edu.sg/iwp/New_IWP/Singapore_Sanitation.pdf

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Š Danny Snell

Decentralising Water and Wastewater Systems: Lessons from the Telecom Industry sammis b. white

I

n 1876, Alexander Graham Bell changed the way the world communicated when he invented the telephone. Shortly thereafter, he also founded the Bell Telephone Company and started stringing wires to make the telephone work for a community of individuals. The invention proved to be popular, and lots of wires were strung to central stations, and these connected to even remote areas. Although extremely capital intensive, the expansion of both wires and central stations continued at a rapid pace as more users wanted to be linked. Almost 100 years later, another revolutionary communication tool would change communication in the world – the handheld cell phone. Sales of the cell phone were sluggish initially because of its cost, large size, short battery life and limited areas of use: but those problems were solved. Today, the cell phone has evolved into its fourth generation (4G, as it is known), and is almost ubiquitous. While the cell phone replaces landline services in advanced

economies, it has almost single-handedly taken over as the central communication tool in developing economies, where the much more capital-intensive landline approach was never well developed. In fact, at the start of 2011, it was estimated that there were over five billion cell phones in use; this almost equals 80 per cent of the world’s population.1 China alone is home to over 878 million cell phones, followed by India with 791 million. 2 The US is a distant third with 302 million.3 Why have China, India and many other less developed countries been able to develop such extensive use of the cell phone? One simple explanation is that cell phones and their systems are far less capital intensive and more flexible than the infrastructure necessary for the expansion of landline phones. This simple explanation has enormous implications for water systems. Countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa and elsewhere in the world that are seeking to build large water and

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Probably the most important lesson to learn from the telecommunications industry is that we should jump to the next technology, not to an older technology, as we move forward. wastewater infrastructure projects may well be making an enormous mistake by patterning themselves after places in the US and Europe. The cost of central water treatment and distribution systems, and similar wastewater collection and treatment systems is enormous. That simple fact might explain why such systems have been slow to develop in many of the lesser- developed countries of the world. Besides, in many cases, one can easily argue that such systems are not only expensive, but also extremely inefficient. An example of the problems that may be created by large-scale infrastructure is happening right now in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. The City of Milwaukee has a water treatment plant and distribution system that was built to serve the City in addition to its many surrounding communities. The system was sized to serve an extensive manufacturing clientele, businesses that used large volumes of water in product making. The system’s volume, however, was never fully utilised. It was built too large for any subsequent demand. Today, the system is operating at about 30 per cent of its capacity, yet users must pay for the maintenance of the entire system. Just like landlines in the telecommunications industry, the early approach that continues to be very capital-intensive may not be the best. Perhaps more treatment should occur at the user’s place, where decisions on the necessary quality of water can be better determined. Furthermore, in centralised water systems, water might leave the treatment plant perfectly clean, but it may degrade in quality during its journey through the distribution system. If on the other hand, water were treated at the point-of-use, there would not be a need for the extensive treatment plant infrastructure. Less energy is likely to be utilised in the entire system. With the development of approaches that are likely to work well at smaller volumes, such as microfiltration, it will be easier to treat at the point-of-use. Thus, the water supply system may be made much less capital-intensive and flexible, and clean water can be obtained for lesser money than where larger and more traditional systems are employed.

A similar argument can be made for approaching wastewater treatment with a decentralised approach. Not only might the scale of infrastructure be much smaller, the water might be cleaned more fully at the user’s place and at their expense. Why for example, should we dilute the waste from everybody’s pharmaceutical use, thus making it that much more difficult to recapture? Why not develop methods of capturing, or at least neutralising chemicals like Estrogen, Prozac and the like at the toilet or at least in the building? Capturing chemicals like phosphates would also be so much easier at the source than at a centralised treatment system after they have been diluted. We currently make dealing with drugs and personal care products much harder, since we dilute them before we seek to remove them. If we treated more waste onsite, as we often require of industries, the challenge at the sewage treatment plants would be diminished. Furthermore, less energy would be used in the construction and operation of the larger system required by the traditional design. Probably the most important lesson to learn from the telecommunications industry is that we should jump to the next technology, not to an older technology, as we move forward. Even as the lesser-developed countries are moving to adopt and use cell phones over traditional landlines, they should move to more fully decentralised water treatment and wastewater treatment systems. The cost and energy savings will be substantial. Research and development (R&D) should focus on perfecting water and wastewater treatment at the users’ places. The lesson should be clear to everyone: avoid the commitment others made to landlines and use decentralised approaches to water and wastewater. TWL Prof. Sammis B. White is the Associate Dean and Director of Workforce Development, and Professor in the Department of Urban Planning at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His research focuses on issues in public policy, economic development, education, welfare, and housing. Prof. White can be reached at sbwhite@uwm.edu.

ENDNOTES 01 International Telecommunication Union. (2011, January). Increased Competition Has Helped Bring ICT Access to Billions (Issue 5). Retrieved from Newsroom/ ITU StatShot: http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/stats/2011/01/index.aspx 02 Wollman, C. (2011, April 25). China Approaches 900 Million Mobile Phone Users, India's Market is the Fastest-Growing . Retrieved from Engadget Mobile: http://mobile.engadget.com/2011/04/25/china-approaches-900-millon-mobile-phone-users-indias-market-i/ 03 Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. (2011). List of Countries by Number of Mobile Phones in Use. Retrieved April 27, 2011, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_mobile_phones_in_use

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water security

What on Earth Are We Doing? linda a. reid

Š Paul Lachine

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I

relatively fragile geographical area of land, and the massive am an average middle-class, middle-income American woman, the parent of an 18-year-old university expansion of previously existing populations. Demand student, an associate professor in the business school outstrips supply, requirements are rising and current supply is unsustainable. At the same time, water quality in of a respected university, and intensely interested in and moved by freshwater issues. I suppose myself to be fairly the sources is deteriorating, due to over-exploitation and educated about the world’s water quantity and quality intensive human activity. The contrast between the availability of freshwater in concerns, understand the water-energy nexus, and attempt to live consciously and conscientiously with regard to their my students’ homelands (and those similarly situated) and mine is shocking. The collective ‘we’ should simultaneously conservation. Every day without exception, I am given be grateful for and do our damnedest to protect and prepause to wonder with respect to water security, ‘what on serve the life sustaining resources that are the Great Lakes. earth are we doing?’ 1,2 I live approximately 80 kilometres away from Instead, the vast majority, and notably those ‘in charge’ of allocating fiscal resources, seem to be as we like to say in Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest city. In 2009, Milwaukee was named a United Nations Global Compact City, the Wisconsin ‘asleep at the wheel’. Currently, the Great Lakes face a number of threats only such city focused on freshwater management issues.3 including sewage contamination, invasive species, habitat It sits on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes. The Lakes are the world’s largest destruction, point and non-point source pollution, some surface freshwater system, containing 84 per cent of North of which is toxic;6 not to mention climate change.7 Federal America's surface freshwater and over 21 per cent of the funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has world’s supply.4 been reduced from $450 million to $300 million this year, Proximity to Lake Michigan and faces further reduction in the means plentiful and easily accessible future.8 The Governor of Wisconsin, We profess to have the drinking water year-round; combined in a professed effort to balance the with the legal certainty of the Compact State’s budget and create a businessbest political system, makes it the least risky region for water friendly environment, first proposed the most influential users in the country.5 Good drinking to ameliorate and now to delay by water quality, efficient wastewater business leaders and the two years, the implementation of the treatment, low water charges, and State’s newly adopted plan to reduce greatest technologies in phosphorus levels in Wisconsin’s a reliable supply are commonplace here. An essential element of the waterways. Phosphorus is the main the world, all of which region’s economic, environmental, source of pollution that creates could be employed to aesthetic and social health, abundant cyanobacterial (blue-green algae) freshwater is its most precious asset. blooms, harmful algal blooms (HABs), improve and protect our and This would be good, except that I low bottom water oxygen (hypoxia) believe it has led to ignorance of or in Wisconsin lakes, including Great freshwater supply. [yet indifference to water security issues, Lakes Michigan and Superior.9 we do so] little... which is dangerous. There are approximately 30 My own perspective of water’s million people who live in the Great value has changed considerably in the past few years, Lakes Region. We profess to have the best political system, albeit by way of regional and international water confer- the most influential business leaders and the greatest techences and seminars, but primarily as a benefit of teach- nologies in the world, all of which could be employed to ing and learning from students, two this academic year improve and protect our freshwater supply. in particular. They are visiting foreign students, from What on earth are we doing?10 Too little. Burkina Faso and Israel respectively. What on earth can we do? To start, we can read, learn In land-locked Burkina Faso, just over half of the and discuss. population has access to clean water, and less than 15 per Very few of those 30 million in the Great Lakes Region cent has access to sanitation. Water is a similarly scarce will read this piece or those that accompany it. Nor is it resource in Israel. Water issues reflect a central aspect of likely that they will write letters or telephone their pothe nature of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; namely, the litical representatives. A majority however, will search the original influx of an additional large population mass to a web, email and use social media.

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know that more people die from dirty So, read, learn and discuss. In What on earth are we water than from all forms of violence, addition to the resources already doing? Too little. What including war.11 cited, I recommend the following online sources: The Environment There are more than 500 million on earth can we do? Report, Healing our Waters-Great active Facebook users. We could Lakes Coalition, and Alliance for the educate ourselves about undrinkable To start, we can read, Great Lakes. Heck, just Google ‘great water, and then discuss the issues and lakes issues’. For information about solutions via posting and messaging. learn and discuss. global water issues, visit Circle of Social media works. So read and Blue. Read discerningly. Also, view learn. Post, tweet, blog, network, the Waterlife film. bookmark, video-share, email, comMy students tell me that letters, ment and podcast. Discuss. hand-written or typed, are lame and What on earth must we do? More phoning is passé. Even emailing may than we currently are doing right now. be on the way out. However, social Let us start now. TWL media works. Prof. Linda A. Reid is an Associate Professor As I write this, my ‘most recent’ of Finance and Business Law at the Facebook newsfeed page is inunUniversity of Wisconsin in Whitewater. dated with posts revelling in Osama Her research interests include jurisdictional Bin Laden’s death, extolling and issues, transboundary water law and denouncing both President Obama and Donald Trump. Not one of these dispute resolution, and pre- and postpeople or the organisations that they mortem planning. Her most recent research represent pose a greater threat or deserve more attention has focused on the human right to water and water privatisation. than unsafe water does. Those of us who work in water Prof. Reid can be contacted at reidl@uww.edu. ENDNOTES 01 For the purposes of this paper, the definition of water security employed by the author is ‘the capacity of a population to ensure that they continue to have access to potable water’, not the more United States-centric and self-focused one of ‘protecting our nation’s drinking water from potential terrorist attacks.’ 02 By ‘we’, I mean the collective ‘we’ – me, my campus, city, state and country; and I wonder literally what in the world are we doing. 03 UN Global Compact. (2011). Retrieved from Milwaukee Water Council: http://www.thewatercouncil.com/?page_id=54 04 U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2011, February 15). Great Lakes Fact Sheet. Retrieved from US EPA: http://www.epa.gov/ glnpo/factsheet.html 05 Hall at 293. 06 For a detailed list, see About Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition. (2010). Retrieved from Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition: http://healthylakes.org/about/ 07 Read the report Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region: Impacts on Our Communities and Ecosystems at http://www.ucsusa. org/greatlakes/glchallengereport.html. 08 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.greatlakesrestoration.us/ 09 NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research. (2009). Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia in the Great Lakes Region. Retrieved from http://www.cop.noaa.gov/stressors/extremeevents/hab/habhrca/GL_HAB.pdf 10 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while not a water scientist, undoubtedly drank water in his day. I am reminded of one of his more famous quotations, ‘Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.’ Strength to Love, 1963. 11

United Nations. (2010, March 22). Video: Unsafe Water Kills More People Than War. Retrieved from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=ZfQkdm5NnH0

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Institute of Water Policy Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy National University of Singapore

469C Bukit Timah Road Wing A, Level 2, OTH Building Singapore 259772

: (+65) 6516 2083 : (+65) 6468 4186 : iwplkyspp@nus.edu.sg

the Water Leader - Issue 03 / 2011  

The Institute of Water Policy Magazine