New approaches required for sustainable WASH services in emerging small towns

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WASH 2011 conference: Erik Harvey

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New approaches required for sustainable WASH services in emerging small towns

  1. 1. Emerging Small Towns:<br />New approaches needed for sustainable WASH services<br />Erik HARVEY<br />WaterAid, UK<br />
  2. 2. Emerging Small Towns:<br />New approaches needed for sustainable WASH services<br />Based on research across six countries: Small Town water & sanitation delivery, Taking a wider view<br />www.small-towns.org<br />Erik Harvey – WASH conference 2011, Brisbane<br />
  3. 3. Research Framework<br />Two key questions:<br />What’s different about WASH services in small towns?<br />How do other sectors provide services in small towns?<br />
  4. 4. What’s a small town?<br />No common definitions exist.<br />Some contexts:<br />5,000-50,000<br />others:<br />up to 200,000<br />Other indicators: density, economic activity levels<br />
  5. 5. What’s the issue?<br />RAPID emergence & mushrooming of small towns<br />For every large town, there are TEN small towns<br />Small towns predicted to quadruple (x4) in SIZE and NUMBER in next 30 years<br />
  6. 6. What’s the issue?<br />Often exhibit both rural and urban characteristics<br />Emerging but weak local economic activity<br />Rapidly changing spatial and social patterns<br />Low economy of scale for conventional systems<br />
  7. 7. What’s the issue?<br />Little or no formal WASH services, or degraded old systems<br />Insufficient capacity & resources (in conventional sense)<br />Investments in services not keeping up<br />May result in these <br />towns becoming<br />sprawling, unserved<br />& unmanageable<br />Can this derail the<br />sector’s efforts at<br />reaching the MDGs?<br />
  8. 8. Some key findings<br />Small towns are different to large urban and rural areas & require a different approach<br />Scale of problem is resulting in rapid inappropriate solutions, “cookie-cutter” technologies, financing & management options<br />Mostly bearing little relation to a town’s own development context<br />
  9. 9. Some key findings<br />Available funding is seen as “golden opportunity” – no consistent financing strategy<br />Key planning & design decisions are often dictated by large urban specialists with conventional biases<br />Economic, demographic and governance linkages both within and externally need to be considered when planning WASH services<br />
  10. 10. Some key findings<br />Small towns lack capacity to absorb shocks and need external support<br />Other sector services are all planned & delivered through centralised systems – defining small towns not an issue<br />
  11. 11. Solutions?<br />Broader analysis of small towns required<br />Town-wide development planning required<br />Tailored solutions, but with:<br /><ul><li>defined generic factors on national / sub-national level</li></li></ul><li>Solutions?<br /><ul><li>menu of technical, financial & management options</li></ul>Specialist support structure to assist small towns<br />Small towns recognised and supported though enabling policies<br />
  12. 12. www.small-towns.org<br />

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