Large-scale peri-urban and rural sanitation with UDDTs, South Western region, Uganda
Case study of sustainable sanitation projects
The South Western Towns Water and Sanitation (SWTWS) project was created in 1995 to provide water supply and improve sanitation in 19 small towns and rural centres in South West Uganda. Implementation of the program started in 1996 with a grant from the Austrian Government. The main focus was on providing water and sanitation systems with low operation and maintenance costs to ensure sustainability given the low income levels of the beneficiaries. Basic sanitation (at least a pit latrine with a sanitation platform, sanplat) for each house hold was the mandatory requirement before water was supplied to a town.
Pit latrines which were commonly used were not suitable for all areas. In some areas they polluted the underground source of drinking water while in water logged areas the pits collapsed. It was then that ecological sanitation (ecosan) technology was identified as a possible solution for such areas.
However, an attempt to introduce ecosan was met with stiff resistance, by the communities as it was unheard of to reuse human excreta. The first units that were constructed were made of partially underground composting toilets, where urine and faeces mixed, but these were later abandoned in favour of the dehydrating above the ground types (UDDTs). Maintaining compost toilets was difficult for the community. Since they looked more like the traditional pit latrines people either failed or neglected to add dry material (ash, soil or compost) to the vaults after defecation. At other times ground water would found its way into the chambers and turned them septic.
From the experiences in the south western region, workshops and discussions were held and it was agreed that Ecological sanitation concepts would be beneficial for the entire country especially the problematic areas. The technology being promoted by the project is a double vault urine diverting dehydrating toilet (UDDT). UDDTs are preferred over the traditional pit latrines that have been common in the area because: they do not contaminate ground water sources, faeces can be recycled for use in gardens and they do not smell or attract flies. Faecal phobic attitudes in communities are fading as people are now readily eating food, which they know has been grown using treated human wastes.
Number of toilets built: 927 (6 persons per household)
Number of people with access to toilets: 5562
Total investment for sanitation part: EUR 420,000
Number of people covered with water supply: 530,093 (this is the total population in the project towns (regional growth centres and small towns))
Start of construction: 1996
End of construction: Toilet construction is an ongoing process (15 days to construct one toilet)
Start of operation: Directly after construction of each toilet
Project end: 2013 (funds for four more years beyond 2013 might be forthcoming)
This project has so far gone through three phases: South Western Towns Water and Sanitation Project (SWTWSP):
SWTWSP I 1996 - 2002
SWTWSP II 2002 - 2006
SWTWSP III 2006 - 2013
Kwikiriza, L., Asiimwe, A. Nuwamanya, H., Schattauer, H.
Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)
ADA, ecosan, UDDT, WSDF-SW
Kwikiriza, L., Asiimwe, A. Nuwamanya, H., Schattauer, H. (2012). Large-scale peri-urban and rural sanitation with UDDTs, South Western region, Uganda - Case study of sustainable sanitation projects. Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA).