Sanitation investments in Brazil are very delayed to meet the current demand

Publicação: 7 de November de 2017

Besides direct benefits over public well-being, sanitation services are also able to complement other important government priorities, as public health policies and poverty reduction

Public sanitation policies have faced many troubles reaching a priority level in political agendas in many developing and emerging countries, especially in Brazil

“Willian Bueno is Federal Government Infrastructure Analyst, obtained his Master’s degree in Public Administration from Columbia University (NY), where he focused his studies in basic sanitation. He is also advisory advisor to the InfraBrasil. Institute. As many other Brazilians, Willian also resents the low investments in this fundamental public health area, that give the Country a terrible reputation, and putting the population at permanent threat of outbreaks. According to data from the National System of Sanitation Information (NSSI), released this January and referring to 2015, only 50.3% of the Brazilians have access to sewage collection, meaning that over 100 million people must rely on alternative measures to handle waste – whether using septic tanks or releasing their sewage directly in nearby waterways.

The water supply, sanitation and residual water services provide substantial benefits for public health, economy and environment. Investments in sanitation generate several benefits that reach far beyond the investment cost. Sanitation leads to an extraordinary socio-economic advantage for the society, but unfortunately, we are very delayed in this sense. The frustrating lack of regular sanitation services in the Country is everywhere: from prime neighborhoods to the poorest favelas, from regular districts to urban settlements without most essential public services and placed on alien properties in a dense and disordered fashion. Thousands of families that should be working or their children studying are sick with diseases that should have been eradicated.

Regarding the development of emerging countries, the positive results returned by investments in sanitation are even greater. In Brazil, the poor level of sanitation services, such as coverage and quality, besides low-efficiency, increase the importance of these investments to increase socio-economic development. Studies have showed that sanitation investments are strategic for Brazil’s sustainable development in a long-term, as well as how these investments are able to give economic and social results, besides significantly enhancing competitiveness.

Generally, sanitation benefits are underestimated by the society, especially because they are not directly seen by the community, especially residual water treatment, or because information regarding these services are not trustworthy or are not available. Besides direct benefits over public well-being, sanitation services are also able to complement other government priorities, such as public health and poverty reduction policies.

However, public sanitation policies have faced many troubles reaching a priority level in political agendas in many developing and emerging countries, especially in Brazil. Sanitation investments in Brazil are e very delayed if compared to what is needed to meet the current demand. Investment difference is more evident in macro-regions and in all social areas. In both cases, it is negatively related to income levels, what induces even more inequality and suppresses the nation’s socio-economic development.

Programs created to fund investments have showed the funds themselves are not sufficient to solve the problem. Despite the available resources, sanitation indicators show that coverage and efficiency do not increase in conformity, making it clear how poor is Brazilian public governance implementing public sanitation policies. This fact makes the need to face the main problems a priority, since they discourage investors from sanitation sectors in Brazil.