The cost of well-functioning safely managed urban sanitation

The CACTUS project creates globally-relevant cost comparators for urban sanitation. CACTUS uses a large database of empirical cost data from both on- and off-site sanitation systems around the world to create conceptual cost models for complete fully functioning systems. CACTUS uses a standard cost metric – total annualised cost per household (TACH) to report high level cost estimates.

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Explore the data

Look behind the headline data to see capital and operational cost data for complete systems, individual components, individual cities and all data points.

About the costing metrics

Learn more about how CACTUS collects and uses empirical data to build up the total annualised cost per household (TACH) estimates.

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Benchmark a sanitations system cost data
An introduction to our Data

The graph below shows our current estimate of typical cost ranges for construction and operation of a functioning urban sanitation system including collection, emptying, transport and treatment using sewers, engineered septic tanks, and pit latrines.

Standard metrics

We use two cost metrics to report on high level costs for urban sanitation systems:

  • Total Annualised Cost Per Household (TACH)
  • Total Annualised Cost per Capita (TACC)

The Total Annualised Cost is the full cost liability of the sanitation service. It includes full capital costs annualised over the lifetime of the relevant infrastructure or equipment, plus annual operation and maintenance costs. TACH and TACC are calculated for each sanitation system or part of a sanitation system for which we have collected empirical cost data.

Sanitation Systems and Elements

A safely managed sanitation system needs to go through a functional system from collection/capture at the toilet (containment), emptying and transport, treatment and finally disposal.

There are multiple technical approaches to the delivery of urban sanitation. CACTUS uses twenty seven standard ‘Component Descriptors’ to describe broad categories of technologies generally used to deliver sanitation. These are clustered across five ‘Elements’ of the Sanitation Value Chain. Component Descriptors are designed to identify technological options which serve homogeneous functions and broad categories where costs are likely to be comparable. They are therefore broader than typical technology descriptors used for detailed discussion of individual sanitation systems in the WASH sector.

Data Collected

Cities where data has been collected by the CACTUS project

Project associated with

WASH Research Group, School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds |
© 2022 CACTU$ Costing