Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development

Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS)

CWIS is a paradigm shift in urban sanitation, and places equity, public & environmental health and coexistence of hybrid sanitation systems at its centerpiece. This concept is under constant evolution with research and practice taking place simultaneously. It aims to create consensus bringing together major sector players such as the World Bank, Gates Foundation, WaterAid, Leeds and Emory Universities among others, placing their efforts with a unified front.

Sandec has been at the forefront of research on urban sanitation, and several projects contribute to the CWIS initiative. The following projects have a direct relevance. 

Planning for CWIS

This project developed a novel planning methodology called “Bridged Approach to Inclusive Planning (BAIS)”. It aims at planning urban sanitation for cities of developing countries using the CWIS principles. It bridges top-down and bottom-up planning approaches for different sanitation contexts. With a focus on India, at a time when sanitation has received its highest priority and other such contexts in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, this research takes a holistic perspective on planning for CWIS.

>> Read the Doctoral Thesis on this topic:

Sankara Narayan, A. (2022) Planning citywide inclusive sanitation. Mapping the paradigm shift in the Global and Indian context, 182 p, doi:10.3929/ethz-b-000561822, Institutional Repository

Capacity Development

The ConCaD project aims to build capacity in private sector consulting towards the planning, designing and implementation of Citywide Inclusive Sanitation. The purpose of increased consultant capacity is to improve the delivery and sustainability of sanitation services to poor and non-poor communities and increase the impact of sanitation investments at city scale in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with a particular focus on 'at scale' sanitation services funded by Governments and or through international financing institutions and development partners.

Towards CWIS Series

The video Towards CWIS Series portrays African and Asian cities moving towards citywide inclusive sanitation. Sanitation experts from Kampala (Uganda), Lusaka (Zambia), Kathmandu (Nepal), Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and Dhaka (Bangladesh) tell the sanitation story of their cities, give personal insights into their work, provide background information about the current sanitation situation in their cities, share their visions and highlight inspiring initiatives.

Publications and Reports

Multiple publications were made on the topic. A select few are highlighted:

Lüthi, C.; Sankara Narayan, A. (2018) Citywide inclusive sanitation: achieving the urban water SDGs, In: Camarena, L.; Machado-Filho, H.; Casagrande, L.; Byrd, R.; Tsakanika, A.; Wotton, S. (Eds.), Urban waters - How does water impact and is impacted by cities and human settlements?, 11-13, Institutional Repository
Narayan, A. S.; Lüthi, C. (2020) Solving urban sanitation - sustainably and equitably, World Water, 43(4), 18-21, Institutional Repository
Narayan, A. S.; Fischer, M.; Lüthi, C. (2020) Social network analysis for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH): application in governance of decentralized wastewater treatment in India using a novel validation methodology, Frontiers in Environmental Science, 7, 198 (18 pp.), doi:10.3389/fenvs.2019.00198, Institutional Repository
Narayan, A. S.; Maurer, M.; Lüthi, C. (2021) The clean plan: analysing sanitation planning in India using the CWIS planning framework, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 11(6), 1036-1047, doi:10.2166/washdev.2021.130, Institutional Repository
Saker, A.; Pedraza, A. B.; Narayan, A. S. (2022) Regulating citywide inclusive sanitation (CWIS) in Colombia, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(9), 5669 (21 pp.), doi:10.3390/ijerph19095669, Institutional Repository
Mitra, A.; Narayan, A. S.; Lüthi, C. (2022) Sanitation potpourri: criteria for planning mix of sanitation systems for citywide inclusive sanitation, Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 49(8), 2195-2215, doi:10.1177/23998083221091568, Institutional Repository
Sundar Navamany, C. G.; Narayan, A. S.; Scholten, L. (2022) There is no environmental health without public health: exploring the links between sanitation and waterbody health in Bengaluru, India, Environment and Urbanization, 34(1), 76-98, doi:10.1177/09562478221084243, Institutional Repository

A special issue on Citywide Inclusive Sanitation was put together and several articles are published in the international peer reviewed journal, Frontiers in Environmental Science.

These articles are available on open access at