Regulators should identify true cost of sanitation, urges IWA

Water regulators should develop a model to identify the full life costs and benefits of sanitation services, according to a new report from the International Water Association (IWA).

This approach, which could be based on the existing way in which the true cost of water is measured, could help regulators make the financial case for greater investment in sanitation.

The document, called ‘A Call to Action: Regulating for Citywide Inclusive Sanitation’, also makes a number of other recommendations, including:

  • Undertaking a review of all existing legislation and regulation relating to sanitation, and developing a roadmap on the way forward;
  • Improving integration between water and sanitation, by giving suppliers responsibility for the provision of both services;
  • Ensuring sanitation regulation is harmonised, and is directly focused on improving public health and the environment;
  • Developing plans for innovative finance models, including potentially through private finance and subsidies; and
  • Enhancing engagement with local communities, using public awareness campaigns, benchmarking, and use of targets where applicable.


IWA Strategic Programmes Manager Daniela Bemfica commented:

“This new IWA report aims to highlight the challenge faced by the 2.1 billion urban residents in the world who lack access to appropriate sanitation.

“While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, taking steps now can play a key role in delivering sanitation services which work for everyone – ultimately bringing an array of social, health, and economic benefits.

“IWA hopes regulators will take up this call to action, and we look forward to engaging further with them in the near future.”

Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) is a public service approach to planning and implementing urban sanitation systems to achieve SDG 6.2: safe, equitable and sustainable sanitation for all by 2030, irrespective of where people live within the city or what technologies are used to serve them.

This call to action, published by IWA, has been prepared by a Task Force of IWA members and partners, with valued support from an Advisory Board. The document aims to act as a strategic contribution to the SDG6 Global Acceleration Framework, building on the foundations of the IWA 2015 Lisbon Charter.


Water underpins every aspect of human and environmental existence. The severe water challenges facing the world today require an unprecedented global response. IWA members and staff are situated in more than 140 countries worldwide, forming the large... Read full biography