THE COST OF SANITATION: - A Mobi-Water Experience

by Teresia | Apr 12, 2019


For most of us in the city, getting access to a toilet is not a problem, in fact you probably don’t even think about it, when nature calls, you just…GO! Toilets are our thinking rooms, sometimes they offer a space to hide from annoying people we don’t want to deal with. We go to toilets to give ourselves pep-talks before big moments in our lives like first dates, interviews, meetings and speeches…. Toilets have seen most of us in our most honest and vulnerable states of being human! So, can we agree that they are a pretty darn important space, that, shall we dare say, allow us to express our madness and maintain our dignity at the same time!

Now that I have your attention, can I interest you in some toilet numbers?... good! Did You Know that in 2019, when the world is talking about Big Data, AI, Block Chain, and other fancy topics, we still have communities, that lack access to proper sanitation? Yeah, in case you didn’t know, the number is 2.5 billion.

Since Water and Sanitation highly intertwined, while implementing out our Mobi-Water project in Kenya, we installed a couple of our real-time water level monitoring systems in local Sanitation points to help operators monitor water use in their tanks. In turn, we got a first-hand experience how communal sanitation points operate and how they use their water. Very interesting Data sets were collected over the 1-year pilot. Hopefully, they will help to put things into perspective and Sound the alarm even louder on what is a very alarming matter!

While it’s is known that Informal settlements lack access to piped water, they also must rely on Public communal toilets. For an individual person, One trip to the toilet costs KES.5($0.05). On average, 2 trips to the toilet a day will cost you KES 10($0.1), which amounts to at least KES. 3,600($36) per year.

A trip to the bathroom costs KES. 10($0.1) for a cold bath or if you’re feeling fancy and would like some hot water, it will cost you KES.20($0.2), bearing in mind the amount of water you get will NOT exceed 20 Litres. So, on average, a person will spend at least KES. 7,200($72) per year on showers alone.

TSo, this means then, that to access basic sanitation, it costs an individual at least KES. 9,800($98) A year. For a family of 4 or 5, that’s close to KES. 50,000 or $500. Well that doesn’t seem like a lot... Right? Ummm, Wrong! For a household that has an income of about 2-3 dollars a day, Sanitation could cost up-to 30% of the TOTAL household salary.

Can you imagine spending 30% of your money just to Shower, Poo and Pee? That’s steep price to pay just for poo right?

Now you know…. What will you do about it? Are we staying true to the theme “Leave no one behind?”