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Low Cost Toilets - Large Scale Implementation: Some queries, Hyderabad

We represent the corporate social responsibility division of Natco Pharma. It is the Natco Trust, ( A CSR division of Natco Pharma Ltd, based out of Hyderabad who are working in 3 districts (part of the district covered) of Andhra Pradesh. We are working at Nagarjuna Sagar & surrounding villages of Nalagonda district.

1. During our pilot study we came to understood that water and sanitation is a dire need, this prompted us to take up the project on water and sanitation. We plan to take up a sanitation project which envisages individual latrines in one hamlet consisting of 320 households as a pilot project.

We have facilitated the community to know why they need  the toilets, its usage, water availability, diseases, cleanliness etc. Each and every household has some place available for the purpose (water,area or place is not a constraint). The end use is for the benefit of the community and it is for the cost estimation for planning and execution with the active participation of the community (the community contributes nearly 50% of the cost). Approximately 4 to 5 individuals per house. The targeted villages are tribals.

What low cost technology is available on the above mentioned scale? And what would be the unit cost as per the method that you mention? Specific costs would be a plus as we are planning to undertake implementation in 315 households and would like to know the pros and cons prior to implementation.


Manager,Natco Trust





Dear S.Rambabu,

For the low cost household toilet- two pit toilet technologies is widely used in India. Details of the technology can be found on the website where approximately costs with different models of household toilets are also available.

For further information one can visit the site of the Department of Drinking Water and Supply, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. It gives detail of the fund/ subsidy available under its scheme of Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), for different models of household toilets.

With regards,

Dr. P K Jha
Technical Adviser
Sulabh International Academy of Environmental Sanitation
New Delhi


Dear Ram Babu,

This WATSAN-Water and sanitation facilities would be very useful to the communities. Ideally make toilets and bathing facilities at a Community Toilet Complexes-CTC. This could be modeled on a Sulabh-Model as you see them in urban-bus stations, railway stations Etc.

The CTCs could be managed by SHGs taking some nominal fees per use or on monthly basis. If you have already decided to go for individual toilets at their homes, then this arrangement can also be progressed.

Please plan your systems such that it consumes the least water and the waste-water from baths is also recycled and re-used for flushing and for watering gardens, green spaces.

Get the community to have co-operatives to manage organic gardens, herbs and medicinal plants can be grown. These areas would be rich in traditional and native medicines.

Our NGO is based in Delhi, and we have helped rural villages, in water, sanitation and reuse of once used water. Solid wastes of bio-nature can be composted and manure used in parks, gardens.

If there is a village-school extend your sanitation facilities there also and especially for girls and women.

Steadily as you and the community build trust and faith in one another a lot can be achieved. With the CSR work please keep in mind to take care of the environment, and have all systems having bio-remediation Etc.

Please feel free to be in touch,

With well-wishes from Vigyan Vijay,

Er. Ajit Seshadri
Head-Environmental Wing (NGO)
The Vigyan Vijay Foundation
New Delhi-110 045


Dear S.Rambabu,

It is nice to know that Natco Trust has been able to carry out community awareness and generate demand for individual household latrines in the entire village. That’s really very impressive. My congratulations to the implementation team on achieving this feat, as this is the most difficult part – changing the behavior.

If the groundwater table is not shallow (deeper than 3 m) and the soil is fairly pervious, then I would suggest that they go for a ‘single pit pour flush’ toilet. Each toilet shall have a conventional pan with a water seal which will be connected to an off set pit.

The pit can be about 5 feet deep and about 3 feet in diameter. Pit lining should be provided which can be of cement concrete rings. Actually I have seen that they do it pretty well in AP where there are number of micro-entrepreneurs (at least one in each urban centre) who specialize in making ferro-cement rings. Natco can approach one such micro-entrepreneur to set up his fabrication unit for the duration of the contract and fabricate the rings in that particular village itself.

Five rings stacked one over the other and with a small gap in between (for seepage of wastewater) will serve a typical 5-6 family household for more than 3-4 years. The users should then be advised to construct second pit. I suggest that the plinth level of the platform should be kept about 1-2 feet above ground.

The superstructure can be constructed as per the liking of the owners and the available budget. Least cost option could be made of thatch or mud blocks, while a robust permanent structure will comprise of brick and mortar and a slab. A toilet with single pit + thatch superstructure will cost around Rs. 4000/- while a permanent structure will cost over Rs. 9000/-.

Trust this meets your query.

Best regards


Asit Nema
Foundation for Greentech Environmental Systems
New Delhi


Dear Rambabu,

Kindly refer the links for some useful more details apart materials posted in the India Water Portal;

Manual on Household Sanitation Options, DDWS, GoI

Photo Gallery, WES-Net India

I felt some of the following points can be of use to the project;

Leach Pit Toilets:

• To reduce cost of toilets, many agencies are promoting pour-flush toilets with single leach pits due to as communities prefer pour-flush toilets. The second pit can be constructed when the first pit is filled-up. It is found that a single pit with a diameter of 3ft and depth of 5-7feet lasts 5-7 years.

• Leach pits can be lined using RCC rings, dry stone packing or honey combined brick lining in areas with soils that cave-in (clay type) or it can also be left unlined if the soils is hard with some lining at top, say 2-3 layers of bricks, to facilitate placing of the cover slab and also to prevent entry of run-off water during rains.

• Normally a toilet of 3x3 ft is enough, but attaching a bathing space with toilet (say an area of 7ftx4ft size) is found very useful to women in rural areas. Roof can be provided if the area has multiple storey buildings or else it is not really necessary.

• If the soil is firm, a foundation depth of 1ft and rubble masonry using earth or cement of 1ft wide upto ground level can reduce the cost. The plinth can be raised by 9 to 12 inches using brick or hollow-blocks. Walls can be of 4.5inches size as you can save cost and it is not going take major load. Door of country wood with tin sheets can be used.

• Finished basement with pan and the pit can be constructed around Rs.1000-1250/- (depends on soil and cost of material), and the superstructure can be decided based on the suitability and choice of people (hollow blocks, bricks, thatches, reeds, polythene/gunny bags, etc can be used for this purpose). The cost of super structure determines the overall cost. A standard toilet can be constructed usually with a budget of Rs.2500-3000/-.

Ecosan toilets:

• These are quite useful in areas with water shortage or shallow ground water table areas.

• If they are farming communities, compost toilets provide compost and urine which can be used as resource for agriculture.

• The cost of compost toilet ranges between Rs.5000/ to 7500/- per unit.
If the toilets are to be built in one village, by taking the construction at one go, you can save on the cost quite a lot.

I suggest that you visit few agencies working near by area to explore practically what you want to do in the project. UNICEF and Training and Development Centre in Hyderabad can help you in this regard.

Also, if you have can visit Trichy in Tamilnadu, you can see the work of agencies like SCOPE and Gramalaya who have done innovative models at very least cost.

Ramesh Sakthivel


There are different toilet option available. Considering the topography of your project districts, Twin Pit toilets would be the best option. A good quality twin pit por flush toilet with brick superstructure would cost around Rs.7000.

If communities are ready to pay and use toilet then only go for community toilets.

We are working in water and sanitation sector in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Bihar and Chattisgarh. In case, if you require any assiatnce from us, may please let us know.

cpkumbhat, Exceutive Director, Action for Community Empowerment.

6. Implementing sanitation projects

Dear Mr. Kumbhat,

Based on my Rajasthn experinece of implementing House-hold sanitation project with ACE, i am looking forward to hear from you for implementing such projects in singrauli Distt of MP. As your organization has presence in MP-CG, it will certainly help us to implement this project in more convenient way.

thanks and regards,

Fuzail Ahmad

Singrauli, MP

Mob: +91 8817956766

7. Dear Fuzailji   We will

Dear Fuzailji


We will certainly be willing to work with your organization in sanitation promotion and also other development needs of teh communtiies

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