JSC Regional Session at 8th World Water Forum


Session date & time: Monday 19 March 2018, 16:30-18:00
Session venue: Room 6, Ulysses Guimarães Convention Center - Brasilia, Brazil

Session organizers: Japan Sanitation Consortium (JSC) in collaboration with
Water Environment Partnership in Asia (WEPA)
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
WaterAid India

Session Program

Session chair: Mr. Ravi Narayanan - Chair of the Asia-Pacific Water Forum Governing Council
Session coordinator: Mr. Pierre Flamand - Manager of International Affairs, JSC

Session overview: In the session was reviewed the current situation and challenges of sanitation and wastewater management in the urban and rural areas of the Asia-Pacific region. Concrete examples of how administrations, private operators and civil society organizations are responding to these challenges were presented. In addition, case studies showing good practices in India for the spread of toilets and the introduction of fecal sludge management in rural areas were introduced, as well as the approach Japan took to develop expert human resources for the sustainable management of wastewater and sludge treatment facilities. Further experience and knowledge exchange finally took place through an interactive discussion between the audience and the panelists.

Key messages from each speaker:
The main discussion points presented by each speaker and panelist are as follows:

Opening remarks:
[Mr. Takehiko Kawai - Director; Japan Sanitation Consortium]
"JSC consists of five member organizations engaged in wastewater and sludge management in Japan, making our consortium an organization expert in both on-site and off-site sanitation. The goal of JSC’s activities is to improve sanitation and wastewater management in the region and support countries in their action to achieve the SDGs by 2030."

Presentation 1: Overview of Wastewater Management in the Asia-Pacific and its Related Problems
[Mr. Tetsuo Kuyama (WEPA Secretariat) - Manager (Water Resource Management), Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES); Japan]
"While the MDGs focused mainly on black water treatment, environmental water quality (including gray and black water) issues need to be covered to achieve the SDGs. Countries such as Korea, China, Japan experienced or are experiencing an improvement in the environmental water quality, while countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia are seeing a decline. Centralized sewerage coverage is still low in many countries. Decentralized systems with good quality effluent such as the Johkasou (Packaged Aerated Wastewater Treatment Plant or PAWTP) are a good option for rural areas. Domestic wastewater is a major pollution source in Asian countries, particularly gray water."

Presentation 2: Institutional and Regulatory Framework for Sanitation and Wastewater Management in Malaysia
[Mrs. Recca Tharmarajah - Deputy Director; Sewerage Regulatory Department; National Water Services Commission (SPAN); Malaysia]
"Malaysia went through 3 phases of institutional reform in policy, regulations, and services. 91% of sewage treatment plants are small in capacity (less than 10,000 PE). Desludging faced an important decline in 2008 due to a change in regulation making owners responsible for the deslduging of their septic tank whereas it was previously under the responsibility of the concessionaire. Standardization and desludging are the way forward."

Presentation 3: Development and Diffusion of Enhanced Communal Wastewater Treatment System with Innovative Appropriate Technologies – Based on Practice in Indonesia
[Mr. Hermanto Sudjarwo – Technical Manager; PUSTEKLIM; Indonesia]
"Communal Wastewater Treatment Systems are identified as the best solution for rural islands in Indonesia. There are 5 key points in the selected technology: low cost, easy O&M, low energy consumption, small footprint (due to limited land), high treated water quality. The selected technology uses a rotating biological contactor (RBC) with newly developed three dimensional lattice contactors."

Presentation 4: Expansion of Used Water Services under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Agreement in Metro Manila
[Mr. Mark Mulingbayan - Head of Sustainability; Corporate Operations Group; Manila Water Company, Inc.; Philippines]
"Although separate sewer systems are the ideal solution, there are too costly to install in already built cities so, as a first step, Manila Water Company (MWC) established the regular desludging of septic tanks. A step-by-step investment process was introduced in which the priority was first to build sewage treatment facilities, using storm canals as a conveyance mechanism. The sewer network will eventually expand to connect all households directly to the treatment plants. In the East Zone of Metro Manila, MWC has completed and is operating nearly 40 sewage treatment plants with a combined treatment capacity of 312 million liters per day. None of the work of MWC is subsidized by the national government and cost recovery needs to happen by the private sector. Changes and inconsistency in environmental regulations has led to increases in both CAPEX and OPEX. MWC carries out awareness raising programs such as the Lakbayan Water Trail Tour. The associated activities are conducted according to the principle of the proverb: "If I tell you, you will forget. If you see, you will remember. If you are involved, you will understand".

Presentation 5: Human Resource Development for Improving Sanitation and Wastewater Management
[Mr. Kazushi Hashimoto – Advisor: Japan Sanitation Consortium (JSC)]
"The most important aspect for achieving the SDG targets 6.2 and 6.3 are the people working in the sanitation and wastewater management sector. About 1 million new wastewater professionals are globally required every year to meet the demand created by population increase. Japan went through a similar situation 40 years ago as developing states now where trained engineers for wastewater management are lacking. This issue was ameliorated through a national training and certification program, such as the one established by the Japan Sewage Works Agency (JS). For decentralised wastewater management, over 3,000 technicians newly join the Johkasou business every year. Human resource insufficiency was solved in the Philippines and Malaysia through the involvement of the private sector. Both approaches are possible, but the most important thing is to create a structure to develop the number and capacity of the professionals involved in sanitation and wastewater management."

Presentation 6: Complexities in Scaling Up Sanitation:
[Mr. Ravi Narayanan - Chair; Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) Governing Council]
(on behalf of Mr. VK Madhavan (WaterAid India) and Mrs. Uzra Sultana (Arghyam)
1) Quality at Scale – Rural Sanitation in India: Some Learnings
"The size of India necessitates to address quality at scale. The Swachh Bharat Mission enabled the construction of 54.8 million toilets since 2014. An uniform policy is difficult due to the federal structure and the diversity of cultures/development stages. The speed for implementation is also problem. The gaps identified include the ptoblem of badly constructed toilets, which can be worse than open defecation, and gender-specific issues (e.g. menstrual hygiene) that need to be addressed."

2) Project Nirmal Fecal Sludge Management in Transition – A Case Study from Dhenkanal Town of Odisha, India
"There is no construction standard for septic tanks in India. The challenges of scale are huge and it is important to find a way to scale up without compromising key components."

Above: The session chair - Mr. Ravi Narayanan (standing) - with the other speakers

Messages from panel discussion:

Question to the audience:
  • What are the most pressing problems?
  • 1st Topic selected by the audience: The difficulty of linking public health and economic sustainability through urban design.
    [Mr. Mark Mulingbayan]
    "In Manila there is a program where the people at the “bottom of the pyramid” pay less tariff."

    2nd topic selected by the audience: The closing cycle of nutrients: sludge from wastewater going to agriculture.
    [Mr. Mark Mulingbayan]
    "The volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 devastated the agricultural land in this area, and now farmers are using the biosolids of the wastewater from Manila for enriching the soil. They are currently used for sugarcane (which is sterilized by heat during production), but not recommended for agricultural crops like vegetables."

    [Mr. Ravi Narayanan]
    "Although it is not safe, in India sludge is used for vegetables. Economic market/standards may need to be developed in the future."

    Other comment from speaker:
    [Mr. Mark Mulingbayan]
    " One additional point is that the Philippines also takes the issue of human resources seriously – e.g. will millennials invest in a career in wastewater?"

    Questions from the audience:
  • What is the coverage goal for sewage treatment for the Philippines, India, and Malaysia?
  • [Mrs. Recca Tharmarajah]
    "In Malaysia, the target is 96% as of 2015 – renewed targets will most likely stay the same (the remaining 4% is the indigenous community living in long houses with shared bathing and sanitation facilities, and it is very difficult to treat the sewage given the cultural dimension.)"

    [Mr. Mark Mulingbayan]
    "In the Philippines, Metro Manila targets 100% by 2037 because of a legal case in 2008 against all provinces on the wastewater pollution in the water environment."

    [Mr. Kazushi Hashimoto]
    "In Japan, 25% is not connected to centralized wastewater treatment systems due to the mountainous geography of the country. For wastewater treatment, new house/residence owners are legally required to install either a Johkasou (packaged aerated wastewater treatment plant or PAWTP) or to connect to the sewerage system. However the problem remains with old houses, which do not have a Johkasou or one that does not treat gray water, as there is no legal framework to force them to install a Johkasou treating both gray and black water."

  • There are problems in Brazil with PPPs: what is the situation in other countries?
  • [Mr. Mark Mulingbayan]
    "PPP is not the solution to problems; the solution lies in leadership and communities. It would be good to compare PPPs in different geographical locations and analyze why they failed or succeeded."

    Key message of the session:

    1. Despite improvements in sanitation access propelled by the MDGs, a large proportion of the population in the Asia-Pacific region remains without access to basic sanitation. As a result, open defecation is still an issue, particularly in rural areas of South Asia. In order to achieve the SDG target 6.2, the concerned countries in the Asia-Pacific region need to increase their efforts to tackle the uncompleted sanitation tasks carried over from the MDGs and put sanitation higher in their development agenda. Focus should not only be on increasing access to basic sanitation (i.e. properly constructed toilets), but also on the construction of sound treatment facilities to properly treat the wastewater discharged by these toilets which, otherwise, will become sources of pollution and put at risk the health of the surrounding population.

    2. The pollution of the water environment is worsening in the rivers, lakes and coastal waters of a great majority of countries, which is particularly threatening the sustainable and healthy development of their urban economy. To successfully tackle the new challenge posed by the SDG target 6.3 - which calls for halving the proportion of untreated wastewater by 2030 - and restore and conserve a clean water environment, these countries need to drastically increase investment in the sector and mainstream wastewater management.

    3. In the Asia-Pacific region, there is a substantial difference between the countries that have already taken drastic measures to achieve the SDG 6.3 target for halving the proportion of untreated wastewater, and those that have not taken these necessary measures and, therefore, in which water pollution is worsening. Although many of these countries have achieved their MDG target for sanitation, water pollution increase is particularly due to the lack of proper management of wastewater treatment facilities and the absence or inefficiency of fecal sludge management (FSM) for decentralized wastewater treatment facilities, which are the prevailing treatment systems in the region. To reduce this disparity, in which the former countries can play a leading role, the sharing of knowledge, successful experiences and good practices, for example through showcase projects and partnerships, needs to be promoted.

    4. The lack of trained and capable professionals is one of the main reasons why wastewater is not properly managed in many countries. To ensure a sustainable management of existing wastewater treatment facilities and accompany the future developments of the wastewater treatment infrastructure, it is critical to establish centralized institutions to train and develop the capacity of the human resources involved in wastewater management.

    5. It is essential to establish sound regulatory mechanisms and planning at the local and national level to extend and improve sanitation and wastewater management services, particularly fecal sludge management.

    6. Private sector participation and concentration on the least served people based on each specific context need to be considered.

    Above: Session venue of the World Water Forum

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