Comparing the costs of different urban sanitation solutions in developing cities in Africa and Asia

Themes: Finance Planning Research Sanitation Urban Sanitation Research Initiative

How can city officials plan (and pay) for sanitation improvements in their municipality?

This Policy Brief summarises a literature review that explored the costs of various sanitation technologies.

The review indicates that conventional sewer systems are the most expensive urban sanitation solution, followed by systems based on septic tanks, ventilated improved pits (VIP), urine-diverting dry toilets (UDDT), then pour-flush pit latrines. Simplified sewer systems may cost less than both conventional sewer systems and septic tank-based systems.

Cost reporting methodologies are inconsistent, and few studies provide data on lifecycle costs for the full urban sanitation chain.

Building sanitation cost databases at country or city level could be useful for investment planning.

This literature review was completed by Loïc Daudey. See open access: Daudey, L. 2017 ‘The cost of urban sanitation solutions: a literature review’, Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development