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Updated 4 May 2011

Many countries are beginning to focus on the need for sustained WASH services and to focus on investment in planning, monitoring and post-construction support, rather than just infrastructure. However, significant gaps and disparities remain. To tackle these, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre has developed a modular training programme, "Water and sanitation services that last". It combines the expertise of WASH professionals and the latest ideas around service delivery approaches for water services.

WASHCost and the Triple-S project have provided significant input into the training by providing a framework that emphasises service delivery and life-cycle costs approaches.

First training in Brisbane

WASHCost Director Catarina Fonseca, IRC, and Harold Lockwood, Aguaconsult and Triple-S, will lead a training on sustainable service delivery and life-cycle costs at the WASH Conference 2011: Towards sustainability in water, sanitation, and hygiene, in Brisbane, Australia, 16 – 20 May 2011.

The training will initially focus on three major steps that take participants from (1) general concepts and approaches to (2) examples of these in use to (3) learning how to apply tools and approaches for sustainable water and sanitation services in your own context.

At the same conference, IRC’s senior Participation, Hygiene and Gender specialist Christine Sijbesma will also run a training course on performance monitoring.

Back-to-back training at other events 2011

The WASHCost team will organise back-to-back training sessions for using the life-cycle costs approach at three other international events in 2011:

Key concepts: service delivery approach

A key disparity in many countries is failing to properly distinguish between the physical system (the infrastructure) and the service which these systems deliver. This is a fundamental starting point of the service delivery approach, a core concept of this training. Service refers to the provision of a public benefit through a continuous and permanent flow of activities and resources; a concept applied in many other services, both in the developing and developed worlds, such as health, education, electricity, telephone and urban water supplies.

A water service consists of access to a flow of water with certain characteristics (such as quantity, quality and continuity). It needs infrastructure – but infrastructure is not the service. Even more than water, sanitation services are usually categorised by technology. The concept of a sanitation service as something that comprises containment, collection, treatment, disposal and re-use of excreta and solid and liquid waste has not yet been widely adopted. Yet this allows a greater focus on the users and the actual service they can access.

Key concepts: life-cycle costs approach.

One key component in ensuring that WASH services continue to deliver is life-cycle costing: which replaces a focus on just pumps and pipes to consider all the costs of the service, from capital investment to maintenance, repairs, direct and indirect support costs and the costs of capital for asset replacement. The life-cycle costs approach is about recognising the importance of post-construction costs which must be covered in order for a service to be maintained over time. The rationale is that WASH governance will improve at all levels, as decision makers and stakeholders analyse the costs of sustainable, equitable and efficient services and put their knowledge to use.

Target audiences for this training package

Target audiences for this training package include:

- Sector professionals and practitioners from international agencies, donors and NGOs;
 - Research partners;
 - Senior members of national government and NGO staff.

Carmen da Silva, Dick de Jong



  • Capacity development
  • Rural WASH
  • Sustainable service delivery
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