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Urban Sanitation Research of NIUA - a brief introduction
In order to understand the urban sanitation challenges in the Indian states, a field based research on septage and wastewater management was commissioned by the Sanitation capacity Building Platform (SCBP) of NIUA. The states of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana were selected for the study. All the thirteen towns from these states included in this study were selected based on their individual social and geographical context. The ULBs included in the study were found to be struggling with sanitation issues such as financial and operational sustainability, improper city planning, and lack of human resource.
Their cost recovery on the revenue and capital investments was insufficient that made the work of the ULBs unsustainable. Assessment of the affordability of the sanitation services in these ULBs revealed the lack of pragmatic city sanitation planning for cost recovery. All the selected ULBs were excessively dependent on the Central and State funds and their instructions played a major role in guiding their sanitation priorities.
The sanitation challenges are not restricted to the lack technology or finance. The social aspects of the city sanitation are also important to consider. The study of the slums and SC/ST dominated areas in the city reveals the unequal distribution of water and sanitation provision. The drinking water sources especially in the slum areas and near dumping yards (for septage and solid waste) have become a conduit of diseases. The water sources from surface and ground water have become increasingly prone to contamination by septage, wastewater or leachate (liquid run off) from the municipal solid waste.
The health and sanitation department in all the ULBs was understaffed. There is an urgent need for digital revamping of the ULBs especially in the smaller towns and cities to make the information regarding the finances and ULB work records accessible. This will aid the financial and technical planning processed of the ULB.
The policy awareness in the states studied needs to be applauded. The awareness regarding the need to provide for the gaps in Urban sanitation i.e. septage/sludge management etc. is beginning to show. For e.g. with theOdisha Urban Sanitation Policy (OUSP), 2017, the state has set a 10 year horizon for itself. Odisha Urban Septage Management Guidelines & Regulations, 2016 coversthemes such asthestandards for septic tanks and other on-site sanitation system, Safe transportation of septage, Service delivery standards, Regulation and coordination, Operation and Maintenance and Monitoring & Evaluation. Karnataka also published its FSSM policy draft recently.
The rapid sanitation knowledge generation and toilet construction after the Swachh Bharat Mission, AMRUT mission and other state and central schemes has led to the need for informed decision making by the ULBs. At a time when the cities and towns in India are expanding and intensifying, there is a need for solutions such as decentralized FSSM that has lower water requirement and better accessibility in terms of finances for treatment and reuse. The various programs and schemes available for aiding the ULB’s work on water and sanitation needs to be incorporated into a proper strategy that involves prioritization based on the context of the place. This requires capacity building of the ULBs on the financial and technical aspects of integrated solution to manage water and sanitation.It was especially found that convergence of knowledge and dissemination of knowledge through capacity building is needed to make the ULB’s work more streamlined. In order to implement the integrated management of wastewater and septage at the ULB level, the officials and other stakeholders such as the informal workers, farmers etc. require hand holding support and capacity building for best financial and technical knowledge.
M.Sc. Water Science and Policy, SNU 2017-19
Young India Fellow 2017