Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development

Strategic Environmental Sanitation Planning

Sandec’s research on Strategic Environmental Sanitation Planning (SESP) systematically addresses the complexity of urban sanitation in order to develop appropriate sanitation systems and services in low- and middle-income areas and emergency humanitarian settings. Our research provides evidence for improvements in policy and practice. The development, testing and implementation of structured planning and training tools contributes to state-of-the-art knowledge through our practice of active dissemination. We work in partnerships with local and international institutions to support sustainable urban sanitation approaches and to build capacity in the sector.

Our vision for urban sanitation planning is synthesised in this publication: Towards Sustainable Sanitation in an Urbanising World.

Our research group has a strong focus on capacity development and offers training and eLearning on integrated, participatory sanitation planning (e.g. MOOC).


Dr. Christoph Lüthi Dr. Eng. Infrastructure Planning Tel. +41 58 765 5614 Send Mail

Ongoing Research Projects

SESP supports organisations in the development of tools and guidelines to improve and monitor WASH in schools and health care facilities.
The aim of CWIS research is to develop a method that synthesizes existing information about the sanitation landscapes of cities in India and that presents comprehensive sanitation solutions.
SESP develops methods and tools supporting sanitation technology and system selection in strategic planning
The Lighthouse Project focuses on visible examples of onsite and decentralised urban water management systems, which will play a key role in enabling sustainability transitions.
Field Testing of an Open-source Do-it-yourself Template to produce robust NoMix toilets locally

Thematic Areas

Sandec provides regular backstopping services to the Swiss Humanitarian Aid (SHA) in terms of capacity building, advisory services and innovation.
This research aims to bridge the planning gap for secondary towns (i.e. less than 100’000 population).
Eawag-Sandec in partnership with UN-HABITAT and WSSCC has published complete guidelines for Community-Led Urban Environmental Sanitation Planning (CLUES).

Training and Key References

ConCaD will build capacity of private sector consulting firms and individual consultants to plan and design urban sanitation services.
A broad overview of sanitation systems and technologies in various contexts.

Past Research Projects

ESRISS deals with the sanitation planning gap in Nile Delta villages that are not connected to large centralised treatment plants.
This two-year research project assesses the conditions and functionality of sanitary infrastructure in four selected health centres in India and Uganda.
Identifying criteria to determine when a shared toilet can be considered of high quality in terms of user acceptability, impact on wellbeing and other potential quality indicators.
4S is assessing small-scale sanitation systems in South Asia to provide policy recommendations for improved sanitation system design, implementation and O&M.

Blue Diversion Toilet

Continuation of the project: Blue Diversion AUTARKY


Dr. Christoph Lüthi Dr. Eng. Infrastructure Planning Tel. +41 58 765 5614 Send Mail
Vasco Schelbert MSc Sustainable Development Tel. +41 58 765 6855 Send Mail
Christopher Friedrich MSc Environmental Sciences Tel. +41 58 765 5198 Send Mail
Sara Ubbiali MSc Environmental Sciences Tel. +41 58 765 5930 Send Mail
Dr. George Wainaina (PhD Utrecht) Scientific Knowledge Broker Tel. +41 58 765 5331 Send Mail
Abishek S Narayan (Dr. Sc. ETH) Project Manager / PostDoc Tel. +41 58 765 6771 Send Mail


Philippe Reymond Environmental engineer EPF Tel. +41 58 765 5148 Send Mail
Dr. Dorothee Spuhler Dr. sc. ETH Zürich, Environmental Engineering Tel. +41 58 765 5628 Send Mail

Ronald Sakaya
Tel. +41 58 765 5384