How to make WASH Environmentally Sustainable?

Step 1: Assess the catchment

Begin with a full catchment level assessment. This includes mapping the catchment and all issues related to water resources, waste flows, diseases, landscape characteristics, ecosystem services, and upstream-downstream connection between communities.

Step 2: Map WASH Infrastructure

Map the presence and status of WASH infrastructure within the catchment as to see its position within the landscape.

Step 3: Identify the points of vulnerability and opportunities

Identify the areas where WASH infrastructure is vulnerable and well positioned in the landscape. For example, a latrine that exists in a flood path, or a borehole situated over a dried out water point are vulnerable points. A well that taps into a naturally recharged aquifer is more sustainable.

Step 4: Optimise the landscape naturally and/or through man-made solutions

Through visualising the vulnerable and strong points, you are now able to understand why some WASH interventions work with nature and others against it. This knowledge allows for optimisation of the landscape through, for example, wetland restoration, zoning and recharging the water table.  Through understanding of natural and man-made solutions, WASH interventions can be implemented in an environmentally sustainable way.

Step 5:  Ecosystem inclusive monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation of WASH results must be complemented with indicators which measure both the hydrological status and the ecological health of the catchment over time. Improvements in the catchment and local livelihoods can be expected.

Step 6: Evidence-based Lobby & Advocacy

The feasibility, investment, complementarity, outputs, results and spin-off aspects of the approach can  be brought to the level of policy influencing  as to lobby and advocacy for inclusive WASH. This with the purpose to influence budget allocation, donor support, partnership development and action on the ground. 

Contact person

Susanne Boom
Programme Coordinator WASH
Tel: +31(0)318 660934 

The Landscape Approach

The Landscape Approach
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Preventing Water Contamination

©Dutch Wash Alliance/