India, Nepal rank low in sanitation coverage

Oct. 1, 2006
Papers presented at the second South Asian Conference on Sanitation 2006 by top sector officials and ministers revealed current access to sanitation in the region, and attendees reaffirmed their commitment and political will to achieve the agreed upon targets of basic sanitation stated in the Millennium Development Goals and Dhaka Declaration.

Papers presented at the second South Asian Conference on Sanitation 2006 by top sector officials and ministers revealed current access to sanitation in the region, and attendees reaffirmed their commitment and political will to achieve the agreed upon targets of basic sanitation stated in the Millennium Development Goals and Dhaka Declaration. The event was held on September 20-12, 2006 in Islamabad, Pakistan.

India ranked the lowest at 38 percent of the population with access to sanitation facilities. Nepal followed closely at 39 percent, 42 in Pakistan, 59.53 in Bangladesh, 76 in Sri Lanka, and 83 percent of the population in Myanmar.

In Afghanistan, some 82 percent of the rural and 67 percent of the urban population do not have access to safe drinking water. More than 90 percent of the rural population and almost 70 percent of urban dwellers do not have access to safe sanitation. An estimated overall sanitation coverage of 28 percent of urban households and 8 percent of rural households is very low. More than 75 percent of schools do not have safe drinking water sources, and 80 percent have no access to latrines.

In Nepal, access in 1980 to latrines was only two percent, but access increased to 39 percent in 2004. Access to latrines is expected to reach 60 percent of the projected population in 2016 if the present trend of latrine construction continues.

The next SACOSAN conferences will be held in India (2008), Sri Lanka (2010), and in Nepal (2012). For more information on presented papers, visit the Pakistan Ministry of Environment website:

ADB approves Bhutan infrastructure loan

The Asian Development Bank approved a loan worth US$ 24 million to improve urban infrastructure facilities and basic urban services in Thimphu and Phuentsholing, Bhutan’s two largest cities, and in Dagana, a regional center. Urban settlement is a new phenomenon in Bhutan, but the quickening pact of urbanization in the last 15 to 20 years is putting pressure on cities.

Thimphu and Phuentsholing face urban migration sprawl, resulting from limited job opportunities in rural areas. One result is that the expansion of urban infrastructure is not keeping up with demand, for instance in the area of water coverage. Meanwhile Dagana faces water shortages at times during the year, and lack of water treatment facilities and intermittent flows pose a public health risk.

In Thimphu, the project will develop a new water supply system, upgrade a wastewater treatment plant, and improve solid waste management infrastructure. Local urban infrastructure, such as secondary roads, tertiary water distribution pipes, drainage, and sewerage, will also be provided in four new areas in the southern part of the city.

Dagana, located near the two project cities, is one of 20 regional centers that is yet unassisted by external aid. Under the project, water supply sources will be augmented, and the treatment and distribution system in addition to sanitation will be improved. About 55,000 people will directly benefit from improved urban infrastructure, while some 19,000 in poor areas will benefit from improved water supply and sanitation.

GL&V acquires Copa Water subsidiaries

The Canadian-based Groupe Laperriere & Verreault Inc. (GL&V) announced on October 16 that it acquired Copa Ltd (UK) and Copa Water Pty Ltd (Australia) from the holding company CDS Technologies Limited for US$ 21 million.

This acquisition provides GL&V with additional and complementary products and technologies for the stormwater and municipal wastewater markets, including the exclusive license to market the Kubota membrane (MBR) in the municipal, commercial, and industrial wastewater treatment segments in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

This is the fifth acquisition completed by the GL&V water treatment group Eimco Water Technologies within the past 18 months, and the second since the beginning of fiscal 2007 when Eimco acquired Enviroquip Inc. on June 30, 2006. The Copa acquisition will provide Eimco with additional revenues of approximately US$ 60 million annually. Copa Australia operates a sales and engineering office, whereas Copa UK operates a similar office along with an assembly plant. COPA Water also has licensees strategically located around the world.

As part of the Enviroquip acquisition earlier this year, GL&V acquired the exclusive license to market the Kubota membrane in the US municipal wastewater market, which gave GL&V exclusive rights to this technology in the whole of North America. The company has held the exclusive license in Canada since 2004. The company also holds a non-exclusive license with the Japanese multinational for the municipal market in India. More municipalities are increasingly demanding the submerged membrane wastewater treatment process, which is experiencing faster growth than the water treatment industry as a whole. Visit the website: for more information.

Field Notes

Regional: Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori launched the Asia Pacific Water Forum (APWF), a regional network at the Asian Development Bank’s Water Financing Program Conference that took place in late September 2006. The forum will identify and adopt new approaches to tackling the most pressing water-related challenges facing Asia and the Pacific. The APWF will contribute to sustainable water management and achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Asia and the Pacific. Mr. Mori said one of the most important roles of APWF will be to organize the Asia-Pacific Water Summit, in cooperation with the Japanese government, where leaders from government, private sector, and civil society from the region can share a common understanding of water issues and reaffirm their determination to address these issues. ADB has been designated as the lead organization for the Forum's Priority Theme of water financing, which aims to increase investments for water infrastructure and human resource development.

Australia: China: Pionetics, a developer of drinking water treatment products, established a joint venture with Elantec, a Beijing-based manufacturer and distributor of consumer and industrial water treatment equipment in order to make its patented LINX drinking water treatment technology commercially available. Elantec will market the product to consumers throughout China under its eLINX brand name. eLINX wastes one-tenth the water of traditional reverse osmosis systems, requires no chemicals, works well under conditions of low water pressure, and is well suited for the Chinese market where clean water is a rare and expensive commodity. Elantec projects that it will sell up to 40,000 eLINX units the first year and well over 100,000 in the next. With about 20 percent of the market, Elantec, is the leading manufacturer and distributor of point of use water treatment systems in China, selling its products through more than 8,000 dealers throughout the country.

China: Atlantium, pioneers of hydro-optic disinfection (HOD) opened an office in Shanghai, to be managed by George Gu, formerly with Ecolab Chemicals and Shanghai Suntory Beverage. Atlantium plans to market its HOD technology, which addressed China’s growing demand for environmentally friendly technologies and advanced water disinfection systems. The HOD system's revolutionary design places proprietary medium-pressure, high intensity light sources outside the water and behind a thick quartz window. The core of the reactor is a large quartz tube that acts as both a clear water channel, which enables unimpeded water flow, and an effective light trap.

China: The Fifth Water & Membrane Exhibition China (Shanghai) 2007: Water & Membranes will be held on April 3-5 in Shanghai Mart. The exhibition is organized by the China Branch of the International Desalination Association and the International Foundation for the Protection of Drinking Water.