Diverse and numerous sanitation sustainability assessment frameworks have been created to enhance the ability of systems to provide safe sanitation services, especially in resource-limited contexts. However, many go unused while new frameworks are developed and high sanitation system failure rates persist. To better support the sustainable development goal around global sanitation, there is a need to better understand how sanitation sustainability is defined and measured and the potential advantages and disadvantages of existing assessment frameworks. A subset of existing sanitation sustainability assessment frameworks was reviewed after applying each to evaluate multiple successful and failed community sanitation systems in India. Overall, the evaluated frameworks did not share a sanitation sustainability definition or core set of essential indicators. Many indicators lacked clear definitions and guidance on data collection and analysis. When evaluating framework effectiveness, differentiations between successful and failed cases varied greatly between frameworks. Potential improvements include indicator pilot testing to verify measurement feasibility and that they provide expected results; context-specific weightings; and project-specific framework selection. Clarifying and improving sanitation sustainability assessment frameworks could increase their effectiveness and use, leading to better decision-making and improved public and environmental health, economic viability, and sanitation use and acceptance.
Davis, A., Javernick-Will, A., and Cook, S. (2019). “Analyzing Sanitation Sustainability Assessment Frameworks for Resource-Limited Communities”. Environmental Science and Technology. 10.1021/acs.est.9b03134