Are there sustainable alternatives to water-based sanitation system? Practical illustrations and policy issues.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There are several reasons to reconsider present urban water and wastewater policy including limitations
of a conventional sanitary system, better understanding of nature and its principles gained during last
decades, and the goal of society to achieve sustainable development. In this paper principles of new designs
of alternative sanitation systems are illustrated, examples of technical and non-technical aspects of the
eventual change are given, and difficulties to achieve changes are discussed. The analysis shows that major
barriers to a change of conventional sanitation include present law and regulations, lower priority for water
and nutrients in the schemes of municipal responsibilities, investments and commitments in conventional
infrastructure, and also common resource perception of water and nutrients. While the issue of designing
precise system of incentives is left to economists, lawyers, and politicians the paper does deal with the
obstacles to change present urban water and wastewater policies and gives possible examples of supportive


  • Justyna Czemiel Berndtsson
  • Ingrid Hyvönen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Water Engineering


  • Sanitation systems, Water, Wastewater, Urine, Faeces, Nutrients, Resources, Sustainability, Recycling
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-530
JournalWater Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch