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WORLD TOILET DAY DIALOGUE – “Rethinking Sanitation Service Delivery in the Building & Construction Industry”

About World Toilet Day: United Nations coordinates World Toilet Day to celebrate toilets and raise awareness of the billions worldwide living without access to safely managed sanitation. The aim is to elicit action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. The prevalent method of delivering water supply and sanitation services to the home is through bulk water supply and sewer networks, which have worked well for centuries in developed economies. Even in South Africa, suburban households have reticulated water supply and sewerage systems. However, informal dwellings and sparsely populated areas such as rural areas do not lend themselves well to a centralized reticulation system. Difficult topography and the unplanned nature make centralized utility infrastructure cost-prohibitive and impractical. Post-1994, the then-incoming government intended to expand infrastructure to these unplanned and underserved settlements but soon realize the cost of doing so and has since been grappling with service delivery backlogs, and institutional issues such as lack of funds, skills, and ageing infrastructure. The recent green drop report's abject state of current wastewater infrastructure is well documented. Furthermore, other factors like climate change and water stress are threats to this mode of service delivery as it is water and energy intense and unsustainable.