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IWA's 'Call to Action' Published!

Pleased to hear that IWA's 'Call to Action' on 'Regulating Citywide Inclusive Sanitation' is now published. The original target of a two page summary (plus a page of references etc) has developed into six pages (plus two pages of references and bibliography) but the addition was clearly needed to do justice to the fascinating case studies based on Kathy Eales' long discussions with regulators around the world and the excellent inputs from the Task Force and Advisory Panel (still hoping that the Case Study summaries can be published).

Not everyone was impressed by my opening paragraph of the Call: 'How to ‘square the circle’ of 2.1 billion urban dwellers, many the poorest on the planet, urgently needing the human right of safely managed sanitation? And at an estimated cost of $105 billion per year, how is this to be delivered in a sustainable AND affordable manner when affordability (and willingness to pay) is so limited, taxation rates are low and donor transfers are not increasing?'

But the Task force, mainly regulators, did find this anglophone idiom useful when paired with its dictionary explanation of 'squaring the circle: doing something that is very difficult or impossible.'

One non-anglophone respondent suggested it should really be described as 'circling the square', pointing out that the art of regulating, something we describe as ‘finding the pragmatic balance between the policy and standards set by policymakers and legislatures, and the service providers, who need to access the funding (tariffs & taxes), repayable financing and human resources to deliver the service’, was really about getting from a ‘ticking the [square] box’ approach to a dynamic, never ending circular process'. Circling the square - indeed! Many thanks for the comment.

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