K52414 Sanitation technology assessment and evaluation

K5/2414: Sanitation technology assessment and evaluation

Funded by: Water Research Commission

June 2014 to December 2015

Lead Organisation: lsidima Design and Development Pty

Partner Organisations: Pollution Research Group (UKZN); Partners in Development; Sustainability Institute;

Project Description:


The Department of Water Affairs Technical guidelines for the development of water and sanitation infrastructure defines the standard for sanitation provision as follows:

A basic sanitation facility is: The infrastructure necessary to provide a sanitation facility which is safe, reliable, private, protected from the weather and ventilated, keeps smells to the minimum, is easy to keep clean, minimises the risk of the spread of sanitation-related diseases by facilitating the appropriate control of disease carrying flies and pests, and enables safe and appropriate treatment andior removal of human waste and wastewater in an environmentally sound manner.

A basic sanitation service is: The provision of a basic sanitation facility which is easily accessible to a household, the sustainable operation of the facility, including the safe removal of human waste and wastewater from the premises where this is appropriate and necessary, and the communication of good sanitation, hygiene and related practices.

Access to basic sanitation is a human right, however, there are approximately 2 million households in South Africa which do not have access to improved sanitation. The 2012 report on the status of sanitation services in South Africa, identifies the following delivery challenges:

  • Service delivery backlogs (people who have never been served);
  • Refurbishment backlogs (sanitation infrastructure that has deteriorated beyond regular maintenance requirements);
  • Extension backlogs (existing infrastructure that needs to be extended to provide the service to new ouseholds in the communities};
  • Upgrade needs (infrastructure that does not meet the minimum standards); and
  • Operation and maintenance (O&M) backlogs (infrastructure that has not been properly operated and maintained, but can be adequate if funds are allocated to ensure proper operation and maintenance).

In response to the sanitation backlog, there are a plethora of sanitation technologies emerging on the market which seek to provide innovative alternatives to full waterborne sanitation (the norm in the urban context), and Ventilated Improved Pit latrines (the norm in the rural context).

The National Building Regulations as described in SANS 10400-Q refers to non-waterborne means of sanitary disposal. This document identifies the use of chemical toilets and VIP latrines; however, most new sanitation technologies fall outside of this narrow categorisation.

The DWA guideline given above, provides a useful benchmark for effective sanitation provision, however there is an absence of an effective transparent evaluation protocol against which sanitation technologies can be assessed. Consequently, the Sustainable Human Settlements Directorate has identified the need to provide technology evaluation and assessment framework as a key management decision support to contribute to the improved delivery of sanitation services.


  • Develop a Sanitation Technology Assessment & Evaluation Tool
  • Produce a collection of informative sanitation Technology dossiers
  • Produce a dialogue report to inform future sanitation policy
  • Host knowledge dissemination workshops to present the assessment tool to key stakeholders


Outcome and expected impacts:


This study will result in the development of a sanitation technology assessment and evaluation tool which in turn will enable the following:

  • Support tool for district and local municipalities in the selection of appropriate sanitation technologies,
  • Standard evaluation protocol for new and existing technologies
  • Production of dossiers of evaluation reports on current sanitation technologies

The desired impact of the above research is to improve the quality and long terms sustainability of sanitation projects in South Africa, to ensure that the technologies being deployed are robust and fit for purpose.

Publications and reports

Journal Papers


Conference Papers and Presentations

Reports and other