Meera Mehta: Urban planning and water and sanitation services in low and middle income countries

Abstract: 

The world is rapidly moving towards high levels of urbanization. A large part of this growth over the coming decades is expected to take place in low and middle income countries, particularly in countries of South Asia, South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. This will put great pressure on provision of basic services such as water and sanitation services. This presents challenges, but also immense opportunities to meet the aspirations of people by ensuring sustainable universal access.

The challenges arise as cities in these countries are expanding and de-densifying, leading to increased costs. This is balanced by increasing incomes that result in increased service demand. There are also opportunities of using innovative approaches to simultaneously meet the burgeoning water needs of growing cities through reuse of waste water using more flexible and decentralized solutions. Increasing focus on using water neutral and zero waste approaches suggest a new way of thinking in the sector. New forms of financing and business models are being explored to address issues of growth in population, spatial extent of cities and effective demand for services.

The presentation will highlight both challenges and opportunities and discuss new institutional and financial mechanisms that incentivize the use of sustainable approaches

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