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 Water and Sanitation Infrastructure Planning in De  posted by  duggu   on 1/30/2008  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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Davis, Jennifer, 11.479 Water and Sanitation Infrastructure Planning in Developing Countries, Spring 2005. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 08 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Women carrying water.

Women carry water 5 kilometers to their homes in Azad and Jammu Kashmir, Pakistan. (Image by Prof. Jennifer Davis.)

Course Highlights

This course features a complete set of assignments, and an extensive list of related resources relevant to the subject matter.

Course Description

This course examines the policy and planning for the provision of water supply and sanitation services in developing countries. It reviews available technologies, but emphasizes the planning and policy process, including economic, social, environmental, and health issues. The course incorporates considerations of financing, pricing, institutional structure, consumer demand, and community participation in the planning process. And it evaluates policies and projects in case studies from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.



Course Description

In this course, we will examine the planning process for the provision of water supply and sanitation (W&S) services in developing countries. After a review of the state of water and sanitation services in different parts of the world and a brief introduction to W&S technologies, we will cover issues of service pricing, alternative institutional structures, including privatization, and the role of consumer demand and community participation in the planning process. Please note that the course is not technical in nature. Although we will become familiar with different W&S technologies, the emphasis of this course is on planning and policy processes in the sector. We will also examine environmental and public health considerations in water supply and sanitation planning, as well as strategies for serving low-income households. The course will make extensive use of case studies from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe. Assignments will include policy memos and a journal of notes on the assigned readings.


Two policy memos (5 pages maximum) and 8 readings journal entries (~1 page).

Description of Assignments

  • Each student will keep a journal of notes/short reflections on the assigned readings for the class. For each set of readings, the instructor will provide a short list of discussion questions to help students focus their reading and prepare for the class session. Students can, but need not, also use these questions as the basis of their readings journal entries. Note that these entries should not be a summary of the readings, but some of  the students' thoughts about their themes and debates. Journal entries should be written for each class session except those in which a policy memo is due. Journals will be read by the instructor on a weekly basis, and students can expect feedback on roughly one third of their entries. Students who are interested in discussing ideas from the readings, or regarding W&S planning and policy more generally are welcome to visit the instructor at any time.
  • Policy memos are a unique written product that practitioners in the policy and planning fields should be able to produce. See the "Guide to Writing Effective Policy Memos" and the student examples in the assignments section.


A final grade will be awarded for each student and will be comprised of the following:

activities percentages
Attendance/Participation 35%
Readings Journal 30%
Policy Memo(s) 35%

Note that 35% of the final grade is based on attendance and participation. Participation includes completing assigned reading before class and being an active member of group discussions; the class is based on facilitated discussions rather than lecture.



The first five sessions of the class were held at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England.

Lec # Topics key dates
1 Introduction to the Class

State of the World's Water and Sanitation Infrastructure

Problem Identification
2 An Introduction to Water Supply and Sanitation Technologies: Guest Speaker: Prof. Susan Murcott  
3 How to Define and Measure Access to Water Supply and Sanitation Small group work and oral presentations
4 Goals of W&S Investment: Human Health and Productivity Gains, the Environment  
5 The Millennium Development Goals for Water and Sanitation  
6 Stakeholder Analysis: Actors in Water and Sanitation Infrastructure Planning and their Objectives Readings journal entry 1 (optional)
7 Institutional Options for W&S Planning and Policy in Developing Countries: Decentralization, Community Management, Privatization, etc. Readings journal entry 2
8 The Evolution of W&S Infrastructure Planning in Developing Countries: Supply versus Demand-oriented Approaches Readings journal entry 3
9 Discussion of Policy Memo 1 Policy memo 1
10 Urban Sanitation Projects with Community Participation: Experiences from Brazil: Guest Speaker: Prof. Earthea Nance, Virginia Tech Readings journal entry 4
11 Providing Water and Sanitation Services to the Poor: Strategies and Obstacles Readings journal entry 5
12 Guest Speaker: Dale Whittington, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill  
13 Community Participation in Water Supply and Sanitation: Alternative Models and Outcomes Readings journal entry 6
14 Financing and Pricing of Water and Sanitation Services Readings journal entry 7
15 Revisiting the Privatization Debate Readings journal entry 8
16 W&S Planning and the Environment Readings journal entry 9
17 Discussion of Policy Memo 2

Wrap-up Discussion
Policy memo 2   Tell A Friend