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Pilot Projects

Global MDG Challenge

2.5 billion with no sanitation
1.75 billion to be served by 2015

450 million new installations by 2015

15,000 installations per hour to 2015



Hebron, Palestine


Despite severe political and economic instability in the region, the ecological sanitation pilot project in Palestine is a success, particularly in the areas of capacity building, sustainability, local adaptation and social adaptability. The project, undertaken by Sida and the Palestine Hydrology Group (PHG), demonstrates the feasibility of household ecological sanitation (based on urine diversion) in the Hebron area.


The hot, dry climate of the West Bank, combined with a serious freshwater shortage and an abundant supply of limestone powder, creates an ideal situation for ecosan implementation. About 80% of the rainwater in the West Bank is controlled by Israel and local piped water systems serve less than half of the Palestinian population. Water scarcity in the region is aggravated by untreated black and greywater discharge and unsanitized sewage being released into the environment.


Of an original goal of 75 ecotoilet installations, 28 households have been fitted. Initial project objectives and timelines approved in early 2000 had to be revised as a result of the conflict in the area. The clash between Israel and Palestine has also affected the employment and income of target area residents; so much of the project has been fully, rather than partially, subsidized. As such, economic sustainability of this project is currently unattainable.


Although the project has been deemed successful in the fundamental areas of ecological sanitation, some improvement is needed to complete the cycle of returning nutrients to the environment. Some households are using the urine to fertilize tomato and olive trees, but many households have not yet emptied their chambers or are using septic tanks to dispose of the urine and anal cleaning water and dumping dehydrated faeces with household waste.


To have an environmental impact in the West Bank ecological sanitation will have to be implemented on a much larger scale.


For more information please contact Yousef Subuh ( ) or visit the Palestine Hydrology Group's website at www.phg.org/projects/dry/dry.html (website no longer online)


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© 2009 EcoSanRes, Stockholm Environment Institute (sei-international.org)
Last modified: 14-jul-2011