Peri-Urban Sanitation and Water Service Provision: Challenges and Opportunities for Developing Countries

January 2014

Peri-urban areas surrounding cities in the developing world are often at the fringes of urban planning, both physically and politically, making service provision an even greater challenge. In addition, these areas face a variety of challenges related to poverty, environmental degradation, shifting cultures and unclear social boundaries.

Water plays a fundamental role in people’s lives. Access to safe water is a basic human need and a key factor in the development and sustainability of human societies. Access to facilities and services for safe disposal of human waste, i.e. basic sanitation, is considered to be equally important, because a lack of sanitation results in contaminated water resources and exposure to disease. At the societal level, sanitation is also required to ensure human dignity and personal safety.

SanWatPUA (Sanitation and Water Supply in Peri-Urban Areas) is a Swedish network of experts established in 2010, which has focused on the synthesis and communication of scientific knowledge about the provision of sanitation and water to peri-urban areas in developing countries. The network aims to support innovation in peri-urban areas through knowledge dissemination on key areas for change. SanWatPUA has applied methods and tools to synthesise knowledge that is instrumental for practitioners in the planning and problem-solving of real-life situations.

This report is written by members of the SanWatPUA network. The different chapters highlight challenges and opportunities concerning sanitation and water supply in peri-urban areas of developing countries. Chapter 1 describes the particular features of peri-urban areas and highlights different challenges for improving sanitation and water supply. Chapters 2-6 deal primarily with opportunities for improvement concerning crucial aspects of sanitation and water supply in peri-urban areas. Finally, chapter 7 introduces gaming as an arena for learning and discussion about different solutions. In gaming, as well as in real planning and negotiations, the other chapters can be used for inspiration and as sources of information.

Additional details

PublisherStockholm Environment Institute
ThemesSanitation value chain, Sustainability and safely managed sanitation

Share this resource

Learn more about SLH Research

We use a range of research approaches, which aim to draw attention to urgent knowledge gaps, blind spots and emerging questions, often at a critical point in time, to support policy-makers, practitioners and partners in navigating and responding swiftly.

SLH Research and Learning