Pioneer of Private Water Systems; Kampala, Uganda
Pioneer of Private Water Systems; Kampala, Uganda
One entrepreneur, Kalebu Ltd. has pioneered the development and management of private water systems in Uganda. The proprietor currently manages five such systems countrywide, two of which are in Kampala serving an estimated total population of 600 people. This Small-scale informal supplier offers both coin-operated kiosk and in-house connection services. In 1998, it reported a pre-tax corporate turnover of US$ 120,000.
The typology is private conventional small water supply systems in various localities of the city where NWSC has no network. (The SSIP proprietor is a civil engineer with special training in geo-technical and structural operations). Kalebu Ltd. identified a market niche in rural-urban sections of large towns, which could not be reached by the public enterprises.
The original idea was to supply water through kiosks from powered boreholes with overhead tanks. The strategy shifted to house connections. High yield boreholes powered by electric energy are installed in the community areas. Water is pumped to storage tanks from where it is distributed through a pipe network to in-house connections and kiosks.
The Kireka System cost US$ 56,000. This was financed using rollover funds from savings of the first investment at Seguku of US$ 50,000. The rollover has slowed down because overhead and operational costs have risen. Kalebu Ltd. is able to create new supplies targeting communities of at least 300 people. A rapid feasibility study, which is paid for up-front precedes investment for project sites.
Coin-operated water kiosk systems - that were hooked on to NWSC networks - were first established in Kibuye. Coin-operated kiosks are used to cutback on operational costs and provide a 24-hour supply. Standard utility billing procedures are applied in management of these systems. The supply is mainly for domestic, institutional and industrial use. Demand for Kalebus services is steadily growing. Profit motivates Kalebu to achieve better services for its clientele, thus providing an option to public utilities. The Kalebu System is currently operational in over seven locations, two of which are in Kampala.
The Mukuru-Kaiyaba pour flush toilet project, which is managed and maintained by the community, is an example of a community-based sanitation facility funded by donors through a local NGO.
An entrepreneur, K.K.M. All Services Ltd., has been contracted to operate all public flush toilets formerly managed by the KCC. Before starting operations, the company invested US$ 38,000 to rehabilitate the facilities (as per contractual requirement) for an estimated 2,550 users per day.
Public toilet facilities (about 105 in total) range from modern water-borne flush toilets found mainly in the commercial district to community-managed VIP latrines in the peri-urban fringe settlements. Of these, 33 are located in the city core area including the newly constructed facilities at the main city market, Owino Market. The rest are found in the peri-urban fringe.
Formalising previously "clandestine" private pit emptying services in Dar es Salaam has benefited many. The operations of private entrepreneurs in the sector have risen rapidly, from three in 1996 to eight by 1999. The operations are now legalised and a recommended tariff charge of TShs 20,000/- ($25) per trip is enforced for every truck. Any truck reported to charge more is stopped from further operations.
This standard charge has gradually dropped as the number of operators increased. Private operators begun to adjust their rates downwards to attract customers, varying cost according to distance between the site and the sewage disposal facility. Current rates by the private operators range between TShs.10,000 ($12.5) to TShs 15,000 ($19), respectively.
These benefits result from a programme initiated in 1994 by the Dar Es Salaam City Commission (DCC) aiming at improving urban environmental sanitation services in the city. On-site sanitation, which largely comprises traditional pit latrines, covers over 80% of the urban sanitation profile of the city of Dar es Salaam. Both the residents and urban authorities identified management of on-site sanitation, especially with respect to pit-emptying services, as most inadequate.
The environmental conditions of the city, particularly in the peri-urban areas were, and to a large extent still are, despicable - as in most large urban centres in Africa. The Dar es Salaam City Commission, the only one allowed to provide pit-emptying services to the public was ill-equipped to meet the city's demands with its fleet of only four pit emptying trucks.
With a population close to 3 million, the demand for such services far out-striped the Commission's capacity. El Nino floods of 1996 was a catalyst for unprecedented cholera out-breaks in various parts of the city. Consequently, individuals started to offer private pit-emptying services but because they were operating illegally, their charges were prohibitive.
Gradually, the City Commission recognised the supplementary role played by the private operators; they formalised the operations of private service providers in the sanitation sector by regulating their activities. They set the tariffs by which such individuals were to operate.
It was in this respect that the Sustainable Dar es Salaam Project (SDP) carried out a study in the Sinza suburb of Ilala District to determine the actual operational costs of pit emptying services within the city. The study concluded that minimum operational cost was approximately TShs.20,000/- ($25) per trip. The project facilitated a meeting of interest groups including operators offering pit-emptying services, to discuss the study findings and to agree on the way forward. The meeting resolved that private pit-emptying services be formalised and legalised and that all actors respect measures put in place to regulate the sector.
Residents of the city are benefiting from improved, more efficient services and lower tariffs as a result of the council allowing private operators to join the sector. One truck makes at least four trips daily, operating 300 days a year. Pits are emptied once in a year. With ten trucks, therefore, they are able to serve about 12,000 households in a year. Given an average household size of 5.5 people per household, the private operators serve at least 66,000 yearly. The Commission continues to provide parallel services, albeit at higher prices, indicating that the private operators are not yet able to meet the market demand on their own.
These represent a gap that would probably not have been served or would have had to pay exorbitant fees for services which were otherwise illegal - if the sector had not been legalised. Now the consumer enjoys almost 50% reduced tariff rate dictated by a competitive market.
On the other hand, the private sector gained legal and commercial recognition with the formalisation of the business. They now fill a service demand gap that the council could not satisfy due to limited technological and business management capacity. Furthermore, the socio-political pressure that usually accompanies public demand for social services has been eliminated and the number of customers on the waiting list has reduced.
The independent operators have provided city residents with an alternative means of maintaining their liquid waste facilities, eliminating the long queues of applicants that used to wait for pit-emptying services from the DCC. Consequently, on-site waste management arrangements in the city of Dar es Salaam has significantly improved.
Intending operators purchase a cesspool truck then applies for a permit to dump at a specific sewage treatment works site. There are six different sewage treatment stations in Dar es Salaam and private operators are allowed to dump at only two of the six sites. Conditions of the permit specify that only organic waste is to be dumped; disposal fees of TShs 3000/- (US$3.75) payable per trip; tankers will not charge over TShs 20000/- ($ 25) where customers can not afford; and that operators are only allowed to dump at specified treatment plants. Payment for service is by cash in advance of service delivery.
The practice is managed by the Waste Management Department of the council based at Mwananyamala DCC deport. There is an officer on site assisted by attendants at the Waste Treatment Sites who record cesspool truck arrivals, confirm the quality of the sludge being duped and collect and record dumping fees.
The operation is largely self-financing and regulation of its output quality largely dependent on market dynamics such as council regulatory mechanisms, competition, and supply and demand. The council, however, exerts control by vetting and approving the truck that it permits to operate. All trucks are required to dump sludge only at DCC approved disposal sites.
Dar es Salaam has a population of 3 million with an annual growth rate of 4.8%. 70% live in unplanned areas and have no security of tenure of the land on which they live. 85% of the population use on-site facilities(latrines) even though high water table is a common feature. Manual pit emptying services are not uncommon.
The Dar es Salaam City Commission (DCC) through the Sustainable Dares Salaam Project (SDP) is introducing private sector participation in several areas of its urban service delivery mechanisms. Other areas to be operated jointly with private entrepreneurs include: solid waste management, street cleaning services, management of car parks, grass-cutting around the city and management of public parks.
From the study, it seems clear that private sector participation in the provision of urban environmental services can enhance service delivery and efficiency. However, private operators are motivated by profits. Tariff guidelines need to be agreed between regulators, in this case the council, and the operators to protect the end user. Regulatory mechanisms used to establish this practice could be adapted as a guide for the introduction of private sector participation in urban sanitation services in the towns where restrictions to such participation still exist.
This case study was presented at a UNDP-World Bank funded workshop held from 19 - 22 June in Nairobi and officially opened by the Permanent Secretary in Kenya's the Ministry of Water Development, Mr Mohammed Isakhia. The theme of the workshop was - Improving Water Supply and Sanitation Service Delivery to the Urban Poor. It brought together 80 participants from 19 African countries.
Reported by Mariam Ayoti
In Kano, Nigeria, toilets are money-minting business. Those who enter the business get support from the local government and Kano State Environmental Planning and Protection Agency (KASEPPA). The latter allocates the site on which the toilets are built, provide building plans, and supervise the construction. They also provide and reinforce guidelines for enhancing hygiene.
Kano has recently seen an upsurge of privately run toilets. The first type of toilets is that which is built and operated by individuals or organisations while the second type is built by government and rented to individuals. A recent workshop on water and sanitation was told that the shift from public to private toilets in Kano came about due to three reasons. There was a need to improve environmental health in the community; need to conform to religious demand for privacy while answering calls of nature; and need to adhere to religious requirement of cleanliness before praying. Kano is a predominantly Muslim state.
At a recent workshop held 19 - 22 June in Nairobi and was officially opened by the Permanent Secretary in Kenya's the Ministry of Water Development, the case of Kano was presented by Mr. Mohammed Iliyas. He discussed the case of privately run public conveniences in Kano where the local authority begun building toilets for public use as early as 1950. They were for the public and were used free of charge. In 1961, individual traders started to build more toilets in market places to serve themselves and their customers. Initially, the use of such facilities was free but gradually the traders begun to charge a fee.
With time, Government agencies started to encourage individuals and organisations to build and run such conveniences on a commercial basis. The government's role was that of providing the land on which they were build and offering technical support. In 1980, government handed over public toilets to private operators on lease basis.
The Ministry of Health, on the other hand, says paying to use the toilet in Nigeria is an old practice that dates back to 1961. Toilets were run by the then Native Authority. However, those around the Kano market were not adequate to service all users and their cleanliness standards were very low. Enterprising individuals obtained approval from the concerned government regulating agency to build and run the facilities on a commercial basis. By 1981, the Kano Urban Development Board (KUDB) started to encourage the practice. They provided the building designs to interested operators and even assisted them in constructing the units. Where no individual or organisation was willing to build such facilities, the board would build and then hand over to individuals who were interested to run them as a business and allow the individual to pay the cost gradually. Some would enter lease agreements.
The individual operators wholly manage the units, several of which are managed by the owners while others are run by employed managers. Some unit owners are known to own "chains" of public conveniences elsewhere. A study to ascertain how the system operates shows that most units have managers who supervise two staff to collect the "pay-as-you-use entry fee". The fee ranges from N3.00 to N5.00 (approximately $0.3 - 0.5). A third staff is employed to clean and inspects the facility after it has been used. KASEPPA inspects the system from time to time to ensure that it is kept clean at all times. A small office which serves as the cash and supervisors office is usually provided at the entrance of the premises.
Majority of these pay-toilets and bathrooms are located in public places, especially around the main markets. A few are found in the congested residential areas. Those living in high-density areas benefit immensely, as usually such places have no private toilets due to limited space. All the units are build according to two standard designs issued by KASEPPA. Type one units are big with 16 compartments comprising five toilets and three bathrooms for men and seven toilets and one bathroom for women. Type two is smaller and has 10 compartment. It houses four toilets and two bathrooms for men and three toilets and one bathroom for the women.
Standard public toilet design is issued by KASEPPA. Type I toilets and bathrooms measure approximately 1,500mm x 2,000mm. The bathrooms have a shower only while the toilets have a squat flash facility and a water tap. It costs approximately N1,200,000 ($12,000) to build while Type II costs N800,000 ($*,000). Most of the facilities are connected to the Water Board pipeline system. However, where there is irregular water supply, private boreholes or wells are used to supply water.
Planning indices guiding site selection include: non-encroachment of a site, being at least eight metres away from the road, must causing traffic congestion or obstructing visibility for motorists. It must not block access to public facilities like drainage and it must be at least five metres away from any existing structure. When all the above conditions are satisfied, KASEPPA issues an approval letter.
There are two types of approval issued by the Agency. The first type is where an applicant owns a land and satisfies all conditions: In this case the Agency informs him (applicant to come forward and collect the Public Convenience Building Plans and have the site demarcated. See Annex III for a sample. An approved site plan is also attached for guidance. The construction is done based on the building plan with the supervision of the Agency. An annual fee of N800.00 is paid to the Government.
The other type of approval is an allocation: In a case where the government constructs a facility, it is allocated to individual operators at a cost of N25,000.00 with an annual rent of N1,000.00.
In both cases, Kano State Water Board (KnSWB) supplies water for the operation of the facilities. Where KnSWB does not supply water, the operators dig boreholes. In some cases, water from these boreholes is also sold to the public.
Public conveniences are found in all the six metropolitan Local Government areas of Kano town. Conditions for operation include the area being congested to an extent that individuals in the area do not have enough space to build household or personal toilets. They can also be business areas where the commercial stores, bars, shops etc do not provide adequate toilets to their customers. There must be water at the facility and operations must be according to conditions set out by KASEPPA, which emphasise cleanliness at the facility.
To construct or operate a pubic convenience, one needs to fill in an application to KASSEPA. Details required include: name, address, and location of the facility and certification by the original allottee/ tenant. An agreement for letting of land for use as public convenience is signed between the agency and the tenant.
KASEPPA is mandated by the Kano State urban Development Edict No. 5 of 1976; KASEPPA Edict No. 8 of 1990 and the Lease Agreement usually signed by an allottee. Members of the public are informed of good toilet practices through programmes on television and radio. The message focuses on public hygiene and general environmental sanitation.
The practice is a success story because it has been accepted by the communities. There are many units doted all over Kano, pointing to the popularity of the units. Prior to implementation of the practice, people who visited market places, stations and motor parks, used to relieve themselves in open-air-toilets. Previous irritating and smelly "open-air-toilets" have been turned into thriving business.
One negative impact named by the study show that the facility might be used by some as a source of water for domestic use. This could result into selling potentially contaminated water to the public.
The Kano experience has been replicated in other states such as Kaduna, Plateau, Katsina and Sokoto. The means of spread has been through contact with KASEPPA by the planning agencies of the cities referred to above while seeking advise and guidance on the issue.
The constitution states that it is the duty of the local government councils to establish and maintain public conveniences (toilets, latrines, bathrooms,) and refuse collection and disposal. The State Ministry of Health and the recently created Ministry of Environment under which Kano State Environmental Planning Protection Agency (KASEPPA) now operates are the regulatory bodies responsible for enforcement of environmental and sanitation laws.
Many places which were eyesore and smelly have now turned into neat and safe places to conduct business due to the contribution of the local government through the provision of the conveniences.
There are some lessons learnt from the study of public conveniences in Kano metropolis. As a result of these privately run commercial toilets and bathrooms, the sanitary environment of in the town has greatly improved. It is now a means through which the local authority generates income. Public conveniences can be found spread in all the six metropolitan local authorities of Kano town.
The theme of the workshop was Improving Water Supply and Sanitation Service Delivery to the Urban Poor. The workshop brought together over 80 participants from 19 countries of Africa, Europe and Asia to share experiences on water and sanitation issues.
Reported by Mariam Ayoti