Improving urban sanitation around the world

Case study

The challenge

Poorly designed sanitation systems are a leading cause of disease in low- and middle-income countries. Urban sanitation planning needs improved methods that can be adopted by cities all over the world.  

The solution

Professors Barbara Evans and Andrew Sleigh developed new tools to help development agencies and governments around the world to plan urban sanitation systems. These tools show hazards created by failures in sanitation systems, and the shortfalls that lead to those failures (regulation, policy, finance, human resources). They bridge the gap between engineers and planners to create a holistic approach to sanitation planning. 

The impact

The tools were used to improve sanitation systems worldwide, helping to improve the lives of almost 200 million people so far. More than 700 cities around the world, including in the US, have developed city sanitation plans based on Evans and Sleigh’s toolkit. This research attracted international interest with meetings between the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who are committed to unlock at least $1 billion to improve sanitation for the 2.6 billion people living without sanitation services. The research informed World Health Organisation Guidelines on Sanitation and Health, improving public health around the world by eliminating its leading cause: poor sanitation.