In peri-urban areas where infrastructure investments have not yet been made, there is a need to determine the most context-appropriate, fit for purpose and sustainable sanitation solutions. Decision makers must identify the optimal system scale (on the spectrum from centralized to community to cluster scale) and assess the long-term costs and socio-economic/environmental impacts associated with different options. Addressing both cost-effectiveness and sustainability are essential to ensure that institutions and communities are able to continue to bear the costs and management burden of infrastructure operation, maintenance and asset replacement. This paper describes an approach to sanitation planning currently being undertaken as a research study in Can Tho City in southern Vietnam, by the Institute for Sustainable Futures and Can Tho University in collaboration with Can Tho Water Supply and Sewerage Company. The aim of the study is to facilitate selection of the most context-appropriate, fit for purpose, cost effective and sustainable sanitation infrastructure solution. As such, the study compares a range of sanitation alternatives including centralized, decentralized (at household or cluster scale) and resource recovery options. This paper provides an overview of the study and considers aspects of the Can Tho and Vietnamese regulatory, development and institutional context that present drivers and challenges for comparison of options and selection of fit for purpose sanitation systems.

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