Linking technology choice with operation and maintenance in the context of community water supply and sanitation: A reference document for planners and project staff
This document aims to help decision-makers from bilateral, multilateral and governmental agencies to identify the most appropriate technology for water-supply or sanitation projects in their area. It is focused on the needs of developing countries.
The types of water-supply and sanitation technologies available are described, as well as the actors involved and the operation and maintenance requirements associated with the technologies. The operation and maintenance of small, community water-supply and sanitation systems, in particular, is emphasized, since this aspect of development projects has been neglected. This has contributed to some alarming statistics, with an estimated 1.1 billion people without access to improved water sources and more than two billion people worldwide without access to any form of improved sanitation. Such conditions are degrading for the people and undermine their health and well-being.
Increasingly, governments are recognizing the importance of integrating operation and maintenance components into all aspects of the development phase of water-supply and sanitation projects. If operation and maintenance is neglected or poorly carried out, the technology will not be sustainable and people will return to using their old, and most likely contaminated, water supplies. National governments can play an enabling role by fostering an environment in which operation and maintenance can be developed effectively and efficiently. Without adequate operation and maintenance, water and sanitation projects will not be sustainable and international targets, to halve the percentage of people without improved water-supply and sanitation services by 2015, are unlikely to be met.