Urban Sanitation and Drainage Development in Timor Leste

By: Luh Putu Kusuma Ririen (Balifokus)

The government of Timor Leste has been supporting urban sanitation and drainage development in their region and working together with several parties such as Melbourne Water, Yarra Valley Water, and WSP (Water and Sanitation Program) to provide water and sanitation infrastructure. In 2011, the government developed Dili Sanitation and Drainage Masterplan and formed a project team. National experts from Ministry of Infrastructure’s Directorate for Water and Sanitation and other relevant government stakeholders are involved in the project team. The Masterplan includes a strategy for the staged implementation of the construction, operation and maintenance of Dili sanitation and drainage infrastructure between 2011 and 2025.

BALIFOKUS also got involved in the project to implement and supervise the infrastructure construction based on DEWATS (Decentralized Wastewater Treatment System) design which it was previously offered to the government and agreed to be followed up by the MCK++ (public bathing, washing and toilet facility) construction located in two pilot project locations, Bidau Santana and Mascarinas. The preparation of the two pilot project implementations started on February 2012 and the establishment of the infrastructure construction began on July-October 2012.

The pilot project of public bathing, washing and toilet facilities (MCK++) at Bidau Santana (left) and Mascarinas (right), Timor Leste.

The objectives of the Timor Leste’s capital city Masterplan include improvements to public health and hygiene practices, environmental condition, and economic prosperity. The Masterplan implementation is expected to be able to achieve specific results on the improvement of clean, well maintained and convenient toilets, the improvement of hygiene practices and public health, the improvement of operation and maintenance of the Dili drainage system, and the improvement of skills, training, knowledge and empowerment of government staff and the local community.

The inauguration of MCK++ facilities was attended by the government representatives and local community members.

The MCK++ facility in both locations, Bidau Santana and Mascarinas, was inaugurated by the Ministry of Health Timor Leste, the Ministry of Public Works (Dili), and the Secretary of State on November 17, 2012. In the future, the government would expand the model of Dili sanitation and drainage project to other Timor Leste’s areas. The importance of a change mindset in the implementation of these sanitation and access to safe water efforts is the main target of the project. It is also clear community-based sanitation improvements program using simple technology are most effective, affordable, and sustainable in low-income cities in Timor Leste, like Dili.

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