University of Leeds/Civil Eng. masthead

Essential Reading for IYS 2008
- and beyond

Duncan Mara's Sanitation blog

IYS logo

Quiz: What do you know about sanitation? (World Bank, 2008)  if  you didn't score 100% read on!

The following are in no particular order − read them all !

2010 report:
Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-water 2010 update  
Read these and be alarmed:
Fast Facts
Earlier reports:

2010 GLAAS report: Targeting Resources for Better Results (UN Water & WHO, 2010)

Water and Sanitation (PLoS Medicine, November 2010) − a collection of four papers:       
1. Hygiene, Sanitation, and Water: Forgotten Foundations of Health; 2. Water Supply and Health; 3. Sanitation and Health; and 4. Hygiene, Sanitation, and Water: What Needs to Be Done?  

Sanitation as a Key to Global Health: Voices from the Field (Institute for Water & Health, United Nations University, 2010)

Back-end users: the unrecognized stakeholders in demand-driven sanita­iton (Journal of Planning, Education and Research, 2010)

Urban Catastrophes: The WatSan Dimension (Humanitarian Futures Programme, King’s College London, 2010)

Global Environmental Health: Research Gaps and Barriers for Providing Sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Services (Workshop Summary) (NAP, 2009)

Hygiene and Sanitation Software: An Overview of Approaches (WSSCC, 2010)

Insecurity and Indignity: Women’s Experiences in the Slums of Nairobi, Kenya (Amnesty International Publications, 2010) – “Women and girls living in these informal settlements are particularly affected by lack of adequate access to sanitation facilities for toilets and bathing. Not only do women have different physical needs from men (for example, related to menstruation), but they also have greater need of privacy when using toilets and when bathing. Inadequate and inaccessible toilets and bathrooms, as well as the general lack of effective policing and insecurity, make women even more vulnerable to rape and other forms of gender-based violence.”

Water, sanitation and hygiene for the prevention of diarrhoea (Int. J. Epidemiol., 2010) “Conclusion: We propose diarrhoea risk reductions of 48, 17 and 36%, associated respectively, with handwashing with soap, improved water quality and excreta disposal as the estimates of effect for the LiST [Lives Saved Tool] model. Most of the evidence is of poor quality.  More trials are needed, but the evidence is nonetheless strong enough to support the provision of water supply, sanitation and hygiene for all.”

Water, Sanitation and Children’s Health: Evidence from 172 DHS Surveys (World Bank, 2010)  The results show a robust association between access to water and sanitation technologies and both child morbidity and child mortality. The point estimates imply, depending on the technology level and the sub-region chosen, that water and sanitation infrastructure lowers the odds of children to suffering from diarrhea by 7-17 percent, and reduces the mortality risk for children under the age of five by about 5-20 percent. The effects seem largest for modern sanitation technologies and least significant for basic water supply.”

Dignity and the decent facility (New Internationalist, 2008) – “Sanitary engineers regard a toilet as a health aid, but women paint a very different picture.”

Impact of a city-wide sanitation intervention in a large urban centre on social, environmental and behavioural determinants of childhood diarrhoea: analysis of two cohort studies (International Journal of Epidemiology, 2008) the intervention is simplified sewerage.

Disparities in access to clean water and sanitation: institutional causes (Water Policy, 2010)

Africa’s Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation (World Bank, 2010) – chapters on water supply and sanitation; background papers on water supply and sanitation.  Africa's Infrastructure home page.

Water and Sanitation as Human Rights (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, undated but ? 2009)

How to save the World with Sanitation (Rose George, The Huffington Post, 27 October 2009)

Introducing SaniFOAM: A Framework to Analyze Sanitation Behaviors to Design Effective Sanitation Programs (WSP, 2009)

The sanitation imperative: A strategic response to a development crisis (Desalination, 2009)

Towards sustainable urban water and sanitation services: Barriers and bridges (Sustainability, 2009)

Reaching the MDG Target for Sanitation in Africa – A Call for Realism (Danida, 2010)

The Right to Sanitation in National Laws (Académie de l’Eau, Paris, 2009)

Vision 2030: The resilience of water supply and sanitation in the face of climate change (WHO & DFID, 2009)

Appropriate Technology for Water Supply and Sanitation: A Summary of Technical and Economic Options (World Bank, 1980) − a summary of the final report of John Kalbermatten’s World Bank research project (RPO 671-46) on appropriate technology for water supply and waste disposal in developing countries undertaken in 1976−78. Well worth reading so as to avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’.

Financing Sanitation: Improving Hygiene Awareness and Sanitation (KfW Water Symposium, 2009) – Symposium homepage with links to presentations.

Step By Step: Achieving Sustainable Sanitation (Arghyam, 2010)

Information on Improved Latrine Options (WSP, 2010)  − “This booklet is really meant to be useful to anyone interested in and working on sanitation programs, and raise people’s awareness of options, create sanitation demand and work on actual construction of latrines.”

Listen to Toilets (BBC World Service, 2009 − mp3 file)

Millennium [Development] Goals: Down the pan? (BBC News, 2005)

Listen to Improving access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (The Lancet, podcast, 2008 − mp3 file)

It's a brave politician who will talk about toilets (Interpress News Service, 2007) interview with Clarissa Brocklehurst, Chief of Water and Environmental Sanitation, UNICEF.

Knowledge barriers key factor in sanitation crisis Nergui Manalsuren interviews Duncan Mara (IPS, 17 August 2009).

Diarrhoea: why children are still dying and what can be done (UNICEF/WHO, 2009)

“The Taboo of Poo” − Why are we so reluctant to talk about one of the greatest threats to human health? (WSSCC, 2009)

The Global Sanitation Crisis: Why Should 5,000 Dead Children per Day be a Taboo Subject? (Fundació Agbar, 2008) − by Arno Rosemarin of SEI.

Sanitation Technologies: Practical Choices for Large-scale Implementation

Public Funding for Sanitation: The many faces of sanitation subsidies (WSSCC, 2009)

IYS2008 Factsheets (UN Water, 2008)

How to prevent a tenth of the global disease burden (The Lancet, 2008) − listen here.

A Snapshot of  Sanitation in Africa (WHO & UNICEF, 2008)

Can Africa Afford to Miss the Sanitation MDG Target? A Review of the Sanitation and Hygiene Status in 32 Countries (AMCOW, AfDB, World Bank and WSP, 2008)

Status of Implementation of CSD-13 Policy Actions on Water and Sanitation (UN DESA, 2008)

The vast deficit in sanitation (Chapter 3 of the Human Development Report 2006 “Beyond scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis”, UNDP, 2006)  

Improving on haves and have-nots (Nature, 20 March 2008)All-or-nothing targets for global access to basic amenities such as drinking water and sanitation are outdated. The time has come, says Jamie Bartram, for a more fluid approach.” 

Determinants of national diarrheal disease burden (Environmental  Science & Technology, 2009) Diarrheal illness is a leading cause of child mortality in developing nations. ... We estimate that reducing unmet rural sanitation need worldwide by 65% would save the equivalent of 1.2 million lives annually.”

Sanitation Challenges and Solutions (IWA Reference Paper, 2008)

Public Funding for Sanitation: The Many Faces of Sanitation Subsidies (WSSCC, 2009)

Financing On-Site Sanitation for the Poor: A Six Country Comparative Review and Analysis (WSP, 2010)

Water and Sanitation For Developing Clean and Healthy Cities − Seminar Report from the World Urban Forum 4, Nanjing, China (SIWI, 2008) 

Meeting the Sanitation and Water Challenge in South-East Asia and the Pacific (International Water- centre, 2009)

A Review of Decision-Making Support Tools in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector (Wilson Center & Pacific Institute, 2008)

Book: The Last Taboo: Opening the Door on the Global Sanitation Crisis (Earthscan, 2008)
Contents: A Short History of the Unmentionable. Runaway Urbanization and the Rediscovery of Filth. In Dignity and Health. Pit Stops: The Expanding Technological Menu. Selling Sanitation to New Users. Shitty Livelihoods, or What? Bringing on the New Sanitary Revolution. 

Book: The Big Necessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste, by Rose George (Portobello Books, 2008 − the link is to − reviews here. [US title: The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters, Metropolitan Books, 2008]
Go ahead, say it: Shit − There, now we can seriously discuss sanitation (Scientific American talks to Rose George, 2008)

Safer Water, Better Health: Costs, benefits and sustainability of interventions to protect and promote health (WHO, 2008) depicts country-by-country estimates of the burden of disease due to water, sanitation and hygiene, and highlights how much disease could be prevented through increased access to safe water and better hygiene.

Sanitation for unserved populations: Technologies, implementation challenges, and opportunities (Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 2008)

Tackling a Global Crisis: International Year of Sanitation 2008 (UN Water, 2008) − this is the “International Year of Sanitation Flagship Publication” from UN Water.

Sanitation (Special Focus Theme Report, World Water Week, Stockholm, 2008)

Environmental sanitation crisis: More than just a health issue (Environmental Health Insights, 2008)

Just How Big is the Schism Between the Health Sector and the Water and Sanitation Sector in Developing Countries? (Environmental Health Insights, 2008)

Symposium on ‘Sanitation for the Urban Poor: Partnerships and Governance’ (IRC, November 2008)

The National Sanitation Bucket Replacement Programme: Lessons Learnt (DWAF, South Africa, 2008)

Talking Dirty − The politics of clean water and sanitation (New England Journal of Medicine, 2008)

Improved Sanitation and Hygiene: Allowing Children to Thrive, Survive and Grow (Stockholm Water Front, 2008)

Sustainable Infrastructure Action Plan FY 2009-2011 (World Bank Group, 2008) − includes sanitation!

Sanitation Consultation (USAID, June 2008)

Urban sanitation − Politics in a dirty world  (Stockholm Water Front, December 2007)

World Water Day 2008 Advocacy Guide (WHO, UNICEF & WSSCC)

Benefit-cost ratios for sanitation interventions

Where are we with Sanitation? (whole January 2008 issue of Waterlines)

South Africa: Focus on water and sanitation delivery (WIN-SA Newsletter, 2008) − South Africa is a country that takes sanitation provision to low-income communities very seriously indeed: see eThekwini UD-VIV latrines.

Sanitation and Water Challenge 2008 (Copenhagen Consensus Center)  

World sanitation goals slip − nature can help (Reuters, 2008) No excuses! (DFID Developments #40, 2008)

Lack of sanitation causes distress and death (InfoChange News & Features, India, 2003)

Global costs of attaining the Millennium Development Goal for water supply and sanitation (Bull. WHO, 2008)

Trends in urban and slum indicators across developing world cities, 1990–2003 (Habitat Inter- national, 2008) − includes data on access to improved sanitation and sewerage

Sanitation for All? (IRC TOP, 2007)

The State of the World’s Toilets 2007 (WaterAid, 2007)

In the Public Interest: Health, Education, and Water and Sanitation for All (Oxfam/WaterAid, 2007)

Manual on the Right to Water and Sanitation (COHRE, SDC, AAAS & UN-Habitat, 2007)

Understanding the urban poor’s vulnerabilities in sanitation and water supply (Center for Sustainable Urban Development, Columbia University, 2007)

Innovations in financing urban water and sanitation (Center for Sustainable Urban Development, Columbia University, 2007)

Women and Sanitation (UN-Habitat, 2007)

The peri-urban water poor: citizens or consumers? (E & U, 2006) − applies also to periurban sanitation.

Securing Sanitation: The Compelling Case to Address the Crisis (SIWI, 2005)

Assessing access to safe water and monitoring progress on MDG7 target 10 (access to safe water and basic sanitation): Lessons from Kazakhstan (Water Policy, 2007)

World Bank Experience with the Provision of Infrastructure Services for the Urban Poor: Preliminary Identification and Review of Best Practices (World Bank, 1997)

Ten steps to sustainable infrastructure [water supply, sanitation, drainage, solid waste management] (Habitat International, 1996)

Sanitation and Economic Development: Making the Case for the MDG Orphan (WaterAid and UCLA, 2007)

A New Paradigm for Periurban Water Supplies and Sanitation 
The New Paradigm is very simply stated:
   Supply water and sanitation to groups of households, not individual households.

Pro-poor sanitation technologies (Geoforum, 2007)

Selection of sustainable sanitation arrangements
(Water Policy, 2007)

Manual on the Right to Water and Sanitation (Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, 2007)

A conceptual model of people's approach to sanitation (Science of the Total Environment, 2008)

A psychosocial analysis of the human-sanitation nexus (J. Environmental Psychology, 2005)

Stockholm Water Front: Sanitation Special (SIWI, 2007)

Sanitation in the developing world: current status and future solutions (International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 2003)

Cities, sewers and poverty: India's politics of sanitation (E & U, 1999)

Sewerage Works – Public investment in sewers saves lives (PSIRU, 2008)

Community infrastructure for low-income cities: The potential for progressive improvement (Habitat International, 1999) − primary focus on water and sanitation

Water, sanitation and urban children: The need to go beyond “improved” provision (Children, Youth and Environments, 2005)

An Alternative Model for Responding to Children in Poverty: The Work of the Alliance in Mumbai and Other Cities (Children, Youth and Environments, 2005) − see ‘Community Toilet Programs’, including special toilets for children, pdf pages 7−9.

Sanitation NOW (special edition for IYS2008, Stockholm Environment Institute/EcoSanRes Programme, 2008) 

Better Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor: Good Practice from sub-Saharan Africa (Water Utility Partnership for Capacity Building, 2003)

Water and Sanitation for All: A Practitioner’s Companion (MIT Urban Upgrading webpage)

Urban sanitation − lessons from experience (Waterlines, 2008) − excellent review of community-based sewerage in South Asia

European Sanitation Policies and Practices in the International Year of Sanitation 2008 (Report of the High Level Policy Conference ‘Finding solutions for more than 20 million citizens of the European Union who lack safe and affordable sanitation’, Brussels, 29 January 2008) (WECF, 2008)

Environmental History of Water: Global Views on Community Water Supply and Sanitation (IWA Publishing, 2007)  University of Leeds Library catalogue entry

Sanitation, Health & Hygiene (Water Wheel supplement, Water Research Commission, South Africa, 2008)

Global Expenditure Review: Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation (Plan International, 2010)

Do the maths (WEM, 2009) − Jonathon Porritt on why environmentalists need to face up to the issue of population.

United Nations World Water Development Reports
Water in a Changing World (2009)
Water: A Shared Responsibility (2006)
Water for People, Water for Life (2003)

The art of the toilet in Japan (BBC News, 2008) 

Health and wealth: Improved health does not always make countries richer (The Economist, 2008) [page 3 of the pdf file has links to the references given on page 2]

Practitioner Note Series (webpage) (Water Sector Board, Sustainable Development Network, World Bank Group) – ‘P-Notes’ are synopses of larger World Bank documents in the water sector reporting key findings and messages.


The Neglected Goal: A Toilet Revolution (IPS)

Sanitation Updates (
IRC and USAID’s Environmental Health knowledge management activity and the Hygiene Improvement Project − HIP)

Circle of Blue: WaterNews − reporting the global water crisis

India Sanitation Portal

AllAfrica water and sanitation news

Mahatma Gandhi's 'mobile toilet' recreated (Daily Telegraph, London, 2008)
Ghandi thought that sanitation was more important than independence.

World Sanitation Project Map or ‘Sanimap’ – “a communication tool to solve water problems” developed by the Water Web Alliance which is “a not-for-profit organization - to contribute to solving the water issues by utilizing the Web and digital technology; and to set up a new medium for raising awareness on water, and for matching individuals' and organizations' demand for water information in partnership with citizens, private corporations, NGOs, and public organizations.”

World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People (World Bank, 2004)

Links to other pages on this site:

Good Listening and Watching: 

 Hurry Up! 2.6 billion people want to use the toilet!! (Think Globally Radio, Stockholm, 2007) − an  interview with Dr Arno Rosemarin of the Stockholm Environment Institute on the  need for sustainable sanitation.

 Water, Power, Poverty − How clean water and sanitation will cut poverty in half by 2015 (Think  Globally Radio, Stockholm, 2008). 
 [More podcasts from
Think Globally Radio].

           Ten steps to total sanitation now (animated video, WaterAid, 2008)

 Coming Clean on Sanitation (ABU and ADB, 2009) this video features the sanitation
 landscapes of six Asian countries and aims to increase awareness about Asia's
 sanitation challenges (better quality version
here  mp4 file).

 Poo Productions − film, music, info. & links  all on the lack of sanitation in developing  countries

Video on life expectancy at birth and per capita income: Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes (BBC, 2009)