Cost Analysis of a Combined, Household-level Piped Water Supply and Sanitation Program in Rural Odisha, India Open Access

Krauss, Julia (Fall 2017)

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Background: A lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is particularly a problem in India, which is responsible for the majority of world’s open defecation. The Government of India’s response to the country’s WASH challenges, which includes campaigns focused on improving sanitation coverage, has been inadequate. To fill the gaps of the government-led sanitation campaigns, Gram Vikas, a nonprofit organization in Odisha, India developed the Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas (MANTRA) program. MANTRA facilitates the establishment of a community-wide water distribution system that provides household-level piped water that is contingent on full village-level toilet coverage.

Methods: This cost analysis used a prospective costing approach to enumerate intervention inputs, estimate base year costs from a broad societal perspective, and extrapolate intervention costs over a 10-year time period, with 2015 as the base year. Costs were incurred or constructed, in the costing model, on three levels – the program implementer (i.e., Gram Vikas), village and household. The fixed capital and recurring costs for each of the three levels were summed together per year and discounted to 2015 using a 3% discount rate. The discounted, per annum costs were totaled to determine the total cost of MANTRA over the 10-year period and allocated per household based on the number of households projected to participate in the intervention during the 10-year analytical period. Data were collected from village and household level surveys, which were supplemented with inputs from Gram Vikas collected through an enumeration exercise, interviews and by examining Gram Vikas’ financial records. 

Findings: The total cost of the MANTRA program over the 10-year analytical period was approximately $1,240 per household. The fixed capital cost of the village water system ($327 per household) and the household sanitary unit ($747 per household) accounted for the majority (85%) of the total cost. Approximately 30% of the household sanitary unit fixed capital cost was attributed to unpaid labor contributed by the household members. The Government of India played a major role in reimbursing the cost of the village water system and providing households with an incentive ($180) for their sanitary unit. 

Table of Contents


Global water & sanitation challenge1

Impact of WASH interventions3

Call for action5

India’s water & sanitation challenge5

India’s WASH-related burden of disease8

Indian sanitation campaigns9

Successes and challenges of India’s sanitation campaigns12

Gram Vikas14

MANTRA program15

Cost of water & sanitation19

Water cost20

Sanitation cost21

WASH cost analysis implications24

Study Aims and Objectives27


Costing approach and rationale28


Data collection30

Data analysis31

MANTRA program timing and coverage32

Gram Vikas fixed capital costs33

Gram Vikas recurring costs33

Village level fixed capital costs34

Village level recurring costs36

Household level fixed capital costs37

Household level recurring costs38



Programmatic costs41

Software costs42

Hardware costs42

Operation and maintenance45

Location contributions47

Government support50

Discount rate51


Programmatic costs52

Village water system & household sanitary unit costs52

Key stakeholders53

Comparison to other programs54



Conclusions and Implications59



Future directions61


Appendix A – Model Cost Assumptions Chart68

Appendix B – Detailed Cost Estimates by Level76

List of Figures

Figure 1: Plans for household sanitary unit (latrine & washroom)17

Figure 2: Photographs of the construction of the household sanitary unit17

Figure 3: Fixed capital cost components of household sanitary unit per household44

Figure 4: Fixed capital cost components of village water system per household44

Figure 5: Fixed capital costs and O&M costs of the village water system and household sanitary unit per household over a 10-year period46

Figure 6: Percentage of the MANTRA program cost shared by each stakeholder49

Figure 7: Actual monetary cost, per household, of the village water system and household sanitary unit, and contributed labor cost over a 10-year period49

Figure 8: Breakdown of household sanitary unit fixed capital cost by stakeholder50

List of Tables

Table 1: Evolution of India’s Total Sanitation Campaign12

Table 2: Activities per MANTRA phase19

Table 3: Per capita costs (in 2005 dollars) of water improvements, excluding program costs21

Table 4: Cost estimates for sanitation programs per household23

Table 5: Cost levels and components32

Table 6: MANTRA program statistics over 10-year time period40

Table 7: Societal cost of the MANTRA program over a 10-year time period41

Table 8: Programmatic cost of MANTRA over a 10-year time period42

Table 9: Average fixed capital cost components of the village water system and household sanitary units over a 10-year time period45

Table 10: Breakdown of O&M costs of the village water system and household sanitary unit per household per year47

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