Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

Course Description

In this course, we will examine the planning process for the provision of water supply and sanitation (W&S) services in developing countries. After a review of the state of water and sanitation services in different parts of the world and a brief introduction to W&S technologies, we will cover issues of service pricing, alternative institutional structures, including privatization, and the role of consumer demand and community participation in the planning process. Please note that the course is not technical in nature. Although we will become familiar with different W&S technologies, the emphasis of this course is on planning and policy processes in the sector. We will also examine environmental and public health considerations in water supply and sanitation planning, as well as strategies for serving low-income households. The course will make extensive use of case studies from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe. Assignments will include policy memos and a journal of notes on the assigned readings.


Two policy memos (5 pages maximum) and 8 readings journal entries (~1 page).

Description of Assignments

  • Each student will keep a journal of notes/short reflections on the assigned readings for the class. For each set of readings, the instructor will provide a short list of discussion questions to help students focus their reading and prepare for the class session. Students can, but need not, also use these questions as the basis of their readings journal entries. Note that these entries should not be a summary of the readings, but some of  the students' thoughts about their themes and debates. Journal entries should be written for each class session except those in which a policy memo is due. Journals will be read by the instructor on a weekly basis, and students can expect feedback on roughly one third of their entries. Students who are interested in discussing ideas from the readings, or regarding W&S planning and policy more generally are welcome to visit the instructor at any time.

  • Policy memos are a unique written product that practitioners in the policy and planning fields should be able to produce. See the "Guide to Writing Effective Policy Memos" and the student examples in the assignments section.


A final grade will be awarded for each student and will be comprised of the following:

activities percentages
Attendance/Participation 35%
Readings Journal 30%
Policy Memo(s) 35%

Note that 35% of the final grade is based on attendance and participation. Participation includes completing assigned reading before class and being an active member of group discussions; the class is based on facilitated discussions rather than lecture.