The extent to which prices (e.g., water supply and sanitation) are within the financial means of users. An important consideration in service planning relating to choice of service level and pricing.

See also: effective demand.

Compare with Willingness-to-pay.

A low-water use alternative where water is scarce. Generally, excreta falls directly from a squatting plate into a septic tank, without passing through a water seal. The solids settle into the septic tank, and the effluent is discharged into a soak-pit.
A type of well in which water flows spontaneously (e.g., fountain-like) from internal pressure to the surface. Artesian wells are usually of small diameter and often of great depth.
Baye Pelle:
A term used for individuals (usually private entrepreneurs) who offer manual latrine pit emptying services.
Black water:
Waste water carrying urine and feces from toilet facilities.

Contrast with grey water.

A hole bored or drilled in the earth, as: a - an exploratory well, and b - (chiefly British) a small-diameter well drilled especially to obtain water. Sometimes called 'borewell'
Brackish Water:
Water with a higher concentration of salt as compared to fresh water, particularly as a result of mixing seawater and fresh water.
A group of independent business owners who establish agreements regarding the production and pricing of particular goods or services, with the goal of reducing or eliminating competition in an industry.

See also: Collusion, Monopoly.

Persons who carry or supply water
An underground tank that is used where there is no sewer and into which household sewage or other liquid waste is drained to permit leaching of the liquid into the surrounding soil. Sometimes called Holding Tank, Seepage Pit or Soak Pit.

Compare with: Septic Tank.

To treat with chlorine; chlorine is used as disinfectant in water purification.
an artificial reservoir (as an underground tank) for storing liquids and especially water (as rainwater)
agreement or cooperation, generally secret, especially for an
illegal or deceitful purpose

See also: Cartels.

The people living in a particular place and usually linked by common interests.
A concession gives the private partner responsibility not only for the operation and maintenance of a utility’s assets but also for investments.

e.g concessions have a long history of use in infrastructure in France and recently they have spread to the developing world, where they have been used for water and sanitation in Buenos Aires, for water in Macao and for sewerage in Malaysia.

Contingent valuation:
A survey method used to estimate effective demand for water and/or sanitation service improvements. A hypothetical scenario, in which the nature of service improvements and associated costs to households, is described to respondents, who are then asked about their willingness and ability to pay in order to receive the improved services.
A pricing strategy in which some users pay below average tariff (subsidized), while others pay above average tariff (subsidizers). Cross subsidies are commonly used in the water and sanitation sector in an attempt to provide basic services at low or no cost to the poor.
The transfer of authority and responsibility for public functions from the central government to lower-level government agencies, civic organizations, and/or the private sector. Decentralisation usually takes on one of three major forms. Deconcentration redistributes decision-making authority and/or financial and management responsibilities from central government officials in the capital city to those working in regions, provinces or districts. Delegation transfers responsibility for the administration of public functions to organizations not wholly controlled by the central government, but ultimately accountable to it (e.g., housing or transportation authorities). Devolution shifts authority for decision-making, finance, and management to quasi-autonomous units of local government with corporate status.
Demand-Responsive Approaches (DRA):
An approach to infrastructure service planning in which households or communities select a level of service that corresponds to their needs, preferences, and ability to contribute both to initial capital costs and ongoing operation and maintenance.

See also: Affordability, Willingness-to-pay.

A measure of the intensity of occupation or use. Measured in units per area (u/area). Units are customarily plots, dwellings, rooms, or people per area. In terms of land, there are two forms:
Gross density - considering the total overall area of all land public and private
Net density - considering only a selected portion of land, generally only the private residential land.
A decrease in value of assets (e.g., water and sewer networks) over time, resulting from aging and wear.
Door-to-Door Service:
Services provided on a periodic basis at the customer’s home. In the case of water supply, door-to-door service can be provided by vendors who sell water by the bucket, jerrican, or tank. For sanitation, door-to-door services are provided by nightsoil collectors who collect and dispose of households’ fecal waste.
refers to the on-plot handling (with or without urine separation) of excreta with minimal use of water so that urine nutrients and sanitized biomass are the end products.
Effective demand:
An expression of demand for a particular level of water and/or sanitation service, indicated by a household’s being both willing and able to pay that service.
Secondary or unintended consequences
An individual who manages a water point (e.g., a standpipe) serving multiple households. The fontanier is typically responsible for collecting fees from users, dispensing water, and in some cases maintaining the water point.
Gross Net Product (GNP):
The total market value of all the goods and services produced by a nation during a specified period (typically one year).
Grey Water:
Waste water produced by washing and bathing and which contains no urine or feces.

Contrast with black water.

Holding Tank:
An underground tank that is used where there is no sewer and into which household sewage or other liquid waste is drained to permit leaching of the liquid into the surrounding soil. Sometimes called Cesspool, Soak Pit or Seepage Pit.

Compare with: Septic Tank.

a science dealing with the properties, distribution, and circulation of water on and below the earth's surface and in the atmosphere
Independent Providers:
Private entrepreneurs who provide, for example, water supply or sanitation services to customers for negotiated prices.

Contrast with public utilities or agencies.

Informal Sector:
A segment of the economy typically comprised of small-scale producers and distributors of goods and services, and consisting largely of independent, self-employed producers. Informal-sector businesses tend to operate with very little capital; to use a low level of technology and skills; and to provide low incomes and unstable employment. They are generally unregistered and unrecorded in official statistics, and are not recognised, supported or regulated by the government.

See also: Squatter.

Increasing block tariff:
See Lifeline tariff.
Jerrycan (also jerrican):
A container used to hold liquids, typically made of plastic. Jerrycans typically hold 20 liters (about 5 gallons), although volumes range from 3 to 30 liters.
A stationary vending location, typically staffed by an attendant, where water is sold or distributed by the container.
a shallow artificial pool or pond (as for the processing of sewage or storage of a liquid) : a shallow sound, channel, or pond near or communicating with a larger body of water
a receptacle (as a pit in the earth) for use as a toilet
Lifeline tariff:
Also called an ‘increasing block tariff’ or ‘social tariff.’ A pricing strategy designed to provide minimal amounts of water at low prices to households. Under a lifeline tariff, the first block of water used (usually 15-25 cubic meters) is provided for free or for a nominal price, with higher blocks carrying increasing per-volume prices.

See also Social Blocks.

A private enterprise generally defined as having fewer than five employees.
to coin into money; also : to establish as legal tender ; to purchase (public or private debt) and thereby free for other uses moneys that would have been devoted to debt service
A market structure characterized by a single product or service provider with complete control of the production and pricing of those products or services.

See also: Cartel.

Multinational Company:
A company having operations or investments in more than two countries.

Compare with: Parastatal Company.

Human excrement collected for fertilizing the soil.
Non-Edificandi Zone:
An area in which construction or settlement is prohibited.
Octroi Tax:
a trading privilege, a concession, a monopoly; a tax on goods moving in and out of a local government's jurisdiction.
Parastatal Company:
A company or agency owned or controlled wholly or partly by the government.

Compare with: Multinational Company.

Areas surrounding urban centers that are often densely populated, lacking improved infrastructure, and settled by households with no formal tenure rights.

For more information on alternative definitions of ‘peri-urban,’ see:

having pores or openings that permit liquids or gases to pass through
Pour-flush toilet:
a type of latrine where a water seal trap is used to prevent smells and to check flies and mosquitoes. Used where water is the common form of anal-cleansing.
PVC Pipe:
Pipe made from the plastic polyvinyl chloride that is commonly used in water supply and sewerage networks.
Rainwater harvesting:
the collections and use of rainwater for domestic and agricultural purposes.
An individual who purchases water (e.g., from a network connection or private borehole), then transports it and sells it to households and/or businesses.

See also vendor.

The area over which a right-of-way exists
b : the strip of land over which is built a public road
c : the land occupied by a railroad especially for its main line
d : the land used by a public utility (as for a transmission line, water pipeline)
A measure of the salt concentration in water. Fresh water salt concentration is less than 1,000 parts per million, while the salinity of ocean water is approximately 35,000 parts per million.
Seepage Pit:
A tank in which organic solid matter of continuously flowing sewage is deposited and retained until it has been disintegrated by anaerobic bacteria. Also called Soak Pit, Leeching Pit, or Cesspool.

Compare with: Septic Tank.

Septic Tank:
A tank in which organic solid matter of continuously flowing sewage is deposited and retained until it has been disintegrated by anaerobic bacteria.

Compare with: Soak Pit, Leeching Pit or Seepage Pit, Cesspool.

Sewage; Sewer; Sewerage:
Sewage is the effluent in a pipe network. Sewer is the conduit - usually a pipe - used to carry off water and waste matter. Sewerage is the complete system of sewers.
Site and Services Projects:
The subdivision of urban land and the provision of services and utilities for residential use and complementary commercial use. Site and Services projects are aimed to improve the housing conditions for low-income groups by providing: a) site, or plot of land, on which people can build their house; and b) services: the necessary utility and service infrastructure necessary for a functioning community. Various dwelling options are sometimes offered, ranging from floor slabs with utility connections, roofs only, 1-room cores houses, to small more complete dwelling units, tailored to the ability to pay. Utility services also vary, from communal facilities (toilets, water supply - although generally not recommended) to pit latrines and shared water standpipes, to full piped services to the individual plots. The concept became popular in the 60’s and the attempt to mimic and institutionalize squatter settlements.
a muddy or slushy mass, deposit, or sediment: as
a : precipitated solid matter produced by water and sewage treatment processes
b : muddy sediment in a steam boiler
c : a precipitate or settling (as a mixture of impurities and acid) from a mineral oil
Soak Pit:
a simple hole, sometimes lined, where effluent is held and slowly seeps into the ground through perforated sides and bottom. A secondary stage of treatment takes place through biological breakdown in the pit.
Social Blocks:
See lifeline tariff.
Social tariff:
See lifeline tariff.
An individual or household occupying land to which it does not have formal title.

See also: Informal Sector.

a grant by a government to a person or company to assist an enterprise, generally to supplement the low income in securing services.
Suction Truck:
A vehicle used for mechanized sludge removal from septic tanks and lined latrine pits.
general term for refuse, sewage.
Standpipe, Standpost:
A pipe riser with a tap (faucet) used as a source of water, usually located publicly. Note: The term 'standpipe' also refers to a high vertical pipe or reservoir that is used to secure uniform pressure in a piped water supply system, particularly in technical publications.
In legal terms, the right of an individual or group to possess a particular property. In practice, security of tenure may be achieved through formal titling (leasehold or freehold), customary or communal, and / or the rental market.

For more information on tenure and the provision of services in urban Africa, see Urban Upgrading in Africa: A Summary of Rapid Assessments in Ten Countries.

Ventilated improved pit latrine (VIP)
A dry latrine system, with a screened vent pipe to trap flies and often with double pits to allow use on a permanent rotating basis. Considered a safe, hygienic means of excreta disposal.
Wastewater treatment
Wastewater treatment typically involves a three-phase process:
(1) First, in the primary wastewater treatment process untreated water is passed through a series of screens to remove solid wastes;
(2) Second, screened wastewater is then passed a series of holding and aeration tanks and ponds; and
(3) Third, flocculation basins, clarifiers, filters, and chlorine basins or ozone or ultraviolet radiation processes.
Willingness to pay:
A measure of demand for particular levels of water supply and/or sanitation service. Often assessed as part of a contingent-valuation study, in which demand for service improvements at the community level is estimated.

Compare to Affordability.

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