Functionality of wastewater treatment plants in low- and middle-income countries

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 includes targets to achieve universal access to safely managed sanitation and to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater.

Wastewater treatment receives considerable amounts of official development assistance funding from donors. However, in many contexts, poor functionality and sustainability of wastewater treatment plants are recurring issues, and there is limited evidence on the extent and causes of the problems.

We commissioned a study to address this gap. The resulting desk review describes the flows of official development assistance to wastewater treatment plants, presents the evidence on functionality rates of such plants and analyses the causes of poor functionality and the lessons from successful experiences. You can also download the policy brief, which summarises the key findings and presents our take on the response needed and the role governments and donors can play (also available in French, Spanish and Portuguese).