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<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

4. Framework for wastewater and stormwater management

Integrated waste management requires the involvement of all stakeholders, and these include policy makers (governments), investors (governments/private sector companies), managers (public and private sectors) and users (communities/community organisations). Figure 1.9 illustrates the relationship between the major stakeholders. It is important to appreciate the jurisdiction and responsibility of each to achieve the coordination that is vital in achieving the integrated approach.

Figure 1.9: Relationship between major stakeholders in integrated waste management.

Governments have generally final jurisdiction and responsibility in waste management by setting overall policy, whether they are involved in performing the management functions or not. Many government departments play crucial roles in the management of wastewater and stormwater. Public health departments have jurisdiction over the maintenance of public health. In an intregated system a public health department has responsibilities in monitoring, inspection and enforcement of public health and in general hygiene promotion. Public works departments have jurisdiction over large infrastructure projects in wastewater and stormwater. They have the responsibility for operating and maintaining centrally operated wastewater/stormwater systems, and overview the systems operated by private contractors.

Often environmental departments assist in providing policy input in waste management as wastes can seriously impact on the environment. They formally assess environmental impacts of major infrastructure projects. These departments can play a major role in the coordination of major stakeholders in an integrated waste management system. Often the above jurisdiction and responsibilities are devolved to provincial or municipal governments with the central government setting general policies and planning parameters. With many stakeholders involved, the crucial factor is the coordination of all the major stakeholders. Responsibility and authority, including final responsibility for decision making, need to be clearly spelt out.

Private sector companies provide a range of services ranging from being contractors to government in conducting feasibility studies, community consultation, drawing master plans for wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, to constructing the infrastructure and operating wastewater and stormwater facilities. Private sector companies operate with the aim of making a profit. Unlike governments they do not have direct responsibility in maintaining public health or quality of the environment. Pressures on government to reduce taxes have resulted in privatisation of services such as wastewater and stormwater management. The stages in privatisation are illustrated in Figure 1.10.

Figure 1.10: Various phases in privatisation of waste management services.

The importance of community involvement as users of wastewater and stormwater management services has been pointed out in (3b) above. This is to ensure that the services are what the community desires and is able to pay for to ensure long-term sustainability of the services. Community participation can be facilitated by community based organisations or non-government organisations in the area.

Communities without legal status of land they occupy in rapidly growing peri-urban areas present a special problem. These communities usually require urgent sanitation services because of serious local public health threat as well as downstream impacts of the wastewater. These communities have inadequate resources and may not be able to afford any form of paying sanitation service. Because of the threat to public health generally and downstream impact of wastewater from these communities, a case can be made for governments to provide the very basic sanitation services. The involvement of the informal sector already operating in these communities is crucial to ensure that the services are what the community wants and willing to contribute (e.g. labour and cash towards operation and maintenance).

Integrated waste management involving all stakeholders and coordination of all aspects of waste management should provide the basis for long term sustainability of wastewater and stormwater services. Factors which need to be taken into account include: characteristics of the wastes, how communities want them to be collected, treated, reused or disposed, policy setting, information available to the community, public education, training, method of financing and cost recovery. Note that governments may be able to control or restrict certain products that have potential to generate wastes from entering the country. The Source Book includes a section on these, as well as a description of the experiences and practices in each of the regions.


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