The Urban Challenge of Sustainability

The challenge of sustainable services is often greatest in cities around the world. In some areas, utilities are unable to deal with the increasing number of illegal connections that prevent vendors selling water at regulated prices, and enable illegal sellers to sell at prohibitively high prices that many cannot afford. In others, high tech wastewater treatment plants fail because operators lack the capacity to maintain them and tariffs are inadequate to support the high cost of repairs. In others still, there is little or no public oversight for non-networked sanitation systems, leaving sludge from latrines and septic tanks to end up in rivers or open drains where children play or women wash clothes. When the number of child deaths from diarrhea-related diseases stay despairingly high, the value of sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions become overwhelmingly clear.

Testing a sludge hand pump in a Nairobi slum which will give families a viable way to empty their pit latrines when they fill up. Currently, families must pay prohibitively high costs to local pit emptiers who use unsanitary methods, forcing them into a loss of dignity by reverting to open defecation, which in turn creates health problems for the community.

Today marks the launch of the WASH Sustainability Charter. Over 20 organisations, including WSUP, have endorsed this charter as a set of guiding principles that advance sustainable solutions in WASH.

WSUP, under the African Cities for the Future program, has and will continue to work towards these principles over the life of this grant and for years to come. By working in partnership with local service providers, we are ensuring that ‘beneficiaries’ reported today will be valued customers for generations to come.

I invite you to endorse the Charter and join this movement.

Click here to read the Charter and join the movement.

About Andy Narracott

Urban water and sanitation professional. Programme Coordinator for the USAID African Cities for the Future Programme.
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