Water Supply and Sanitation in Small Towns: the urban-rural intersection

  • Partners: Makerere University, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Eduardo Mondlane University, Collins Ltd, AIAS, RIVM, EAWAG
  • Donor: Stichting IHE
  • Donor Programme: DGIS - UNESCO-IHE Programmatic Cooperation
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa

This innovative and interdisciplinary research focuses on water and sanitation management in small towns of Sub-Saharan Africa. In these towns, that form the intersection between urban and rural, existing coverage of basic public services is lagging behind, hindering the achievement of SDG6 if concrete actions are not taken urgently. The research aims to assess existing models of water and sanitation provision by studying to what extent current infrastructural and management models reflect the specificities of small towns or rather mimic models implemented in large urban centres. This research will put users at the forefront by integrating public health protection into the management models, leading to a positive impact on health of users in the long run. The way technological solutions are being selected, and how financial, operational and commercial risks are allocated and distributed will be studied to transform the provision of water and sanitation services in an informed, inclusive and sustainable process. Moreover, this research will explore the implications of existing and proposed management models and interventions for the users and how it affects the dynamics and interdependencies between urban and rural realities. This research will ensure that the realities and possibilities of small towns are taken into account in national policies by producing specific knowledge on water supply and sanitation (WSS) in small urban settlements and providing concrete recommendations to improve current practices. This research will document the specific needs of small towns when it comes to water and sanitation management, both for productive use and human consumption taking into account the particular development processes within small towns as well as the urban/rural dynamics. In this way, this project will contribute, in coordination with local partners, to the development of new models for water management and provision of water and sanitation services, which will potentially result in more sustainable outcomes for service providers and users.