Institutional Mechanisms for Sustainable Sanitation: Learning from Successful Case Studies

Publication | December 2018

Policy makers should focus on improving access to safely managed wastewater management services.

Even though access to improved sanitation facilities has improved, progress in access to safely managed sanitation services is still slow. Globally, 4.5 billion people still lack access to safely managed sanitation (UNICEF and WHO 2017). Such inappropriate management of excreta is a main source of pollution of public water bodies, rivers, canals, and ponds, particularly in the urban areas of many Asian developing countries. According to a survey conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (2012), in Jakarta, Indonesia, although the share of residents with access to improved sanitation facilities has reached 87% (85% to septic tanks and 2% to sewerage systems), the rivers in the city are seriously polluted.

Key points

  • Despite improvements in access to improved sanitation facilities, improper decentralized wastewater management still causes water pollution.
  • The majority of septic tanks are improperly installed, and the “on-demand” desludging system is proving inefficient.
  • Japan has successfully implemented an effective and robust institutional framework to test and approve new technologies as well as ensure the proper installation of decentralized wastewater treatment facilities.
  • The experiences of Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia show that mandatory desludging is effective. The case of Dumaguete in the Philippines demonstrates that highlighting the benefits of an efficiently working sanitation value chain can improve willingness to pay.
  • Systematic training for desludging workers can help regulate them, cultivate their professionalism, and raise their social position.
Policy Brief No: 2018-3

Additional Details

  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Wastewater
  • 2411-6734