Inefficient technology or misperceived demand: the failure of Vacutug-based pit-emptying services in Bangladesh
Demand is growing globally for appropriate technology and viable business solutions to pit-emptying and transportation services. There is a growing body of experiments on technological innovations in different contexts to find an effective solution. However, there is no one technology or business model that can be applied everywhere because of contextual difference and varied demand. A Vacutug-based emptying and transportation service has been introduced in an urban context in Bangladesh by WaterAid. However, this study suggests that despite enormous demand, this mechanical emptying and transportation service has not been successful because of technological inefficiency and other demand-related factors.
Experts are asked important questions relating to rainwater harvesting: Is the quality of roof-harvested water acceptable? Is the cost of RWH acceptable? Is rainwater harvesting a useful part of water supply services everywhere? Is RWH equally useful in urban and rural environments? And how can we measure the water harvesting potential of seasonal rivers?
Critical lessons from apparent failure: using solar energy to supply piped water in a remote coastal area in Bangladesh
People living in climate vulnerable coastal areas in Bangladesh suffer greatly due to acute water shortage. Increasing saline intrusion in ground and surface water in this region has made potable water extremely scarce. This affects poor people most since they either drink saline water or drink less water than their bodies need. These practices have serious health implications for these people which ultimately affect their overall well-being. Appropriate technology is not yet available to address this because locations are remote, communication is difficult, unit cost is high, and electricity is not available to operate high-end technologies. In this context, WaterAid experimented with a solar-powered low-tech device to extract groundwater from a distant source and distribute it through a piped network. A community-based management and water-sharing approach was also trialled. The technology and the approach worked well but were abandoned after one year because the community moved away when the embankment was eroded.