Safe Water and adequate Sanitation services – The ARSO Initiative for the Adoption and Implementation of Water and Sanitation International Standards in Africa – SDG 6: Water and Sanitation

The impact of universal access to WASH (Safe Water and adequate Sanitation) on global health would be profound. There is the potential to save the lives of the 829,000 people who currently die every year from diseases directly caused by unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene practices. It will help drive progress towards the SDGs concerned with poverty, work and economic growth and gender equity. In urban areas, for every $1 invested in basic drinking water, an average of more than $3, and $2.5, in basic sanitation, respectively, is returned in saved medical costs and increased productivity. In rural areas, the return on investment is even higher: with every $1 invested in basic drinking water, an average of nearly $7, and $5, in basic sanitation, respectively,  is returned in saved medical costs and increased productivity (Hutton et al. 2015(WHO/UNICEF 2019). The traditional flush toilet and sewer system, invented two hundred years ago, though has served humanity, remains impractical and too expensive given their dependency on water and energy availability for their effectiveness. There is need, therefore, to find affordable and sustainable sanitation solutions for Africa based on new technologies and standards, such as the ISO 30500:2018 – Non-sewered sanitation/next generation toilets and the ISO 24521:2016, together with ISO 24510:2007 ISO 24511:2007, relating to Safer drinking water and wastewater services. ARSO, in Collaboration with the ANSI-USA, is facilitating the adoption of these standards in Africa under the ARSO ARSO/THC 09-3 Technical Working Group on Drinking Water Supply and Wastewater Systems with the involvement of about 108 Experts, including Standards, Conformity Assessment Officers, Regulators and Water and Sanitation Experts from 32 African countries (Algeria, Botswana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Congo Brazzaville, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana , Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia , Libya , Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia , Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal , South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Seychelles, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda , Zambia, Zanzibar , Zimbabwe). ARSO looks forward to working together with the African Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW) to ensure sound policies, legal and regulatory frameworks, within the Framework of the 2016 Dar-es-Salaam Roadmap for achieving the Commitments on Water Security and Sanitation in Africa; African Water Week and the 2025 Africa Water Vision.