The World Bank Group / Programme Solidarité Eau / University of Leeds / University College London

Rethinking sewers

Thursday 30 August | 16.00-17.30 | Room: NL Pillar Hall
World Bank Group

Sewer networks are often built with little upfront consideration of how and when households will connect or whether poor areas will be covered. Too often engineers use standard design principles to build large, centralized networks for the formal city. Consequently, there are countless examples of sewer networks connected to treatment plants that are vastly oversized for the number of functional connections and that fail to serve the poor.

There are good examples of programs that encourage and simplify the process of getting households to connect and of optimal sewer design, including in unplanned urban areas, which incorporate community outreach, financial incentives, marketing campaigns and legal and norm reforms. The condominial and slum networking approaches, developed in Brazil and India, respectively, advocate implementing such principles from day one, having households involved from the design process on. The cost of sewers in many contexts can be dramatically reduced if simplified, rather than conventional, sewer design approaches and standards are used.

This session will explore the issues of optimal sewer design and under-connection and will highlight good practices in getting effective services to all, including in unplanned areas of cities. Participants will also delve into a real-world case study during small group discussions.


16:00-16:10 Introduction to problems with conventional sewerage approaches, Martin Gambrill, World Bank

16:10-16:45 Presentations on good examples of sewerage programs

  • Condominial sewers in Brazil, Duncan Mara, University of Leeds
  • pS-Eau experiences in Senegal, Colette Genevaux, pS-Eau (tbc)
  • Slum Networking experiences in India, Priti Parikh, University College London

16:45-16:55 Summary of themes/characteristics of good programs for ensuring households connect to networks, Rebecca Gilsdorf, World Bank

16:55-17:15 Small group discussions around the following topics, moderated by: Christophe Le Jallé, pS-Eau

  • How to apply these ideas/principles in practice in the places where you work
  • Obstacles faced in applying these approaches
  • Other resources that would be helpful in applying these approaches

17:15-17:30 Share out small group discussion highlights and wrap-up session, Priti Parikh, University College London