Sanitation and climate: assessing resilience and emissions (SCARE)

Dired Dawa sludge disposal site
Dired Dawa sludge disposal site Image credit: Abraham Geremew

SCARE is a three-year project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It focuses on two inter-related, critical areas of water and sanitation services related to climate change: - greenhouse gas emissions from on-site sanitation systems and resilience of sanitation services to climate change.

Understanding both these issues is critical for governments and policy makers to be able to make informed choices in trade-offs between reducing emissions and developing resilient and sustainable services that protect public health.  The key aspects of this research include:

  • providing improved estimates of greenhouse gas emissions associated with on-site sanitation in urban areas and small towns. This will help us to identify the technology and management options that will optimise the reduction in emissions with safe and reliable services that meet the needs of women and girls.
  • improving understanding of how to enhance the resilience of sanitation services, with regards to climate change and greenhouse gas reduction, in resource-limited settings
  • improving the availability of climate products and services, such as climate projections and data, in an accessible manner for operational and policy decision-making in sanitation services in low- and middle-income countries. 
House with outside toilet, Nepal.
House with outside toilet, Nepal. Image credit: Prativa Poudel

Working with local stakeholders, government, and policy makers

Field research and policy engagement will take place in

  • South Asia (Nepal)
  • East Africa (Ethiopia and Uganda)
  • West Africa (Senegal)

Given the political priority accorded to improving sanitation services in the countries and their increasing economic development, significant investments in improving safely managed sanitation can be expected in the short- to medium term. Choices made about technology and service delivery approach will have a profound impact on whether these investments minimise emissions from sanitation and whether sanitation services are resilient to increasing climate threats. Undertaking work in four countries will allow a better understanding of how emissions vary with context and to understand resilience in different climates.

Developing tools and methods

The SCARE project is developing a range of tools and methods for assessing emissions and resilience. As these are developed and tested, we will make these available on our website.

Project team

The project is being undertaken by a consortium of international cross-disciplinary partners:

  • University of Bristol, UK (PI Professor Guy Howard, School of Civil Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering)
  • University of Leeds, UK (Co-I: Professor Barbara Evans, School of Civil Engineering)
  • University of Technology Sydney, Australia (Co-I: Professor Juliet Willetts, Institute for Sustainable Futures)
  • Kathmandu University, Nepal (Co-I: Professor Dr. Subodh Sharma, School of Science)
  • Haramaya University, Ethiopia (Co-I: Dr Abraham Gemerew, College of Health and Medical Sciences, School of Science)
  • Kyambogo University, Uganda (Co-I: Dr Kenan Okurut, Dept. of Building and Civil Engineering)
  • Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), (Co-I: Ms Nathalie Andre, Sanitation Specialist)
A residence in Dhankuta Municipality affected by mudslip and landslide as a result of heavy rainfall in the monsoon of 2020.
Heavy rainfall in the monsoon of 2020 resulted in mudslip and landslide in some places in Dhankuta Municipality. Image credit: Anjali Manandhar Sherpa
Image showing a pit in Nepal.
Pit in Nepal Image credit: Anish Ghimire
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