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TitleProductive use of domestic wastewater in peri-urban regions : issues and options
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsKurian, M, Reddy, R, Rao, M, Lata, S
Pagination16 p.; refs.; 5 boxes; 2 fig.; 2 tab.
Date Published2008-11-19
Place PublishedDelft, The Netherlands
Keywordsaccess to sanitation, agricultural wastewater, sanitation, sanitation services, wastewater, wastewater recycling, wastewater treatment, water reuse

Sanitation has emerged as an important development challenge especially in secondary towns experiencing higher rates of urbanization but with relatively limited financial resources to be able to construct sophisticated underground drainage systems. Peri-urban wastewater re-use has a high cost-benefit ratio given its usefulness in facilitating freshwater swaps, reducing energy intensity of agricultural systems and facilitating community adaptation to climate change induced public health and environmental risks associated with storm drain overflows and contamination of drinking water sources respectively. But for domestic wastewater to be put to productive use institutional incentives must be identified for collection, transport, treatment and reuse. This paper argues that it is important to examine the potential benefits of wastewater reuse within a broader political economy context of competition for water between agriculture and urban water supply. Further, it is also important to emphasize spatial integration of water supply and sanitation to address disparties in access to water supply and sanitation services between rural and urban consumers. The paper reviews international experience to argue that decentralization is a necessary but insufficient guarantee of improved service provision. Important considerations within a decentralized policy framework that merit attention include seperation of roles between regulator and service provider, coordination between rural and urban local governments and public line departments and private sector and improved information flows to facilate effective local level planning in support of improved access to basic services.

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