ESAWAS 12th Annual General Conference

ABOUT THE THEME: The Regulatory environment for accelerating access to WSS services with focus on sanitation and climate resilient systems: leaving no one behind

The attainment of SDG6 ‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’ is a key target for all water supply and sanitation regulators. While significant progress has been made in water supply service coverage, sanitation service coverage has continued to lag far behind.

Some progress has been made by some member countries towards regulation of mainly sewered sanitation, despite the extremely limited network coverage and imperceptible change in terms of percent of population being covered. However, attaining the SDG target for universal access with conventional sewers is not realistic or sustainable from a financial, water, or energy perspective, particularly in the context of climate change. Thus, achieving the 2030 target of safely managed sanitation services requires an inclusive urban sanitation approach that combines regulation of both sewered and non-sewered (onsite) sanitation service provision.

The non-sewered (onsite) sanitation value chain (from containment, emptying, transportation, treatment and disposal/reuse) has largely been neglected both in the delivery of service as well as in regulation. Recognising that the largest proportion of the population in the urban areas of the member countries depend on non-sewered sanitation, a pragmatic approach is needed to regulate service delivery from an inclusive perspective that acknowledges sewered and non-sewered technology modes and the importance of regulatory touch points along the entire sanitation value chain. 

Reduction in water resources has become a key challenge for a number of countries due to climate variability and anthropogenic activities. Sustainable alternative water sources, as well as adequate storage facility coupled with climate change management is becoming a key focus for regulators to safeguard water supply service delivery. Regulators need to develop policies for water storage and flood control, review resilience of water supply systems and manage water supply against competing demands with reduction in water wastage.

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