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Open letter to Johannesburg Summit                            February 2002
            Division for Sustainable Development, United Nations
Presented for the PREPCOM 2,  28 January - 8 February 2002, New York, USA
By Fax to: 1-917-367 2341 and to all delegates, observers, NGOs and journalists
                                                                                                   (please distribute further to support this initiative)


Sustainable Sanitation is a key to Sustainable Development!

  • Conventional sanitation can only operate with high water consumption
  • Conventional sanitation has been developed without consideration of water and fertiliser reuse thus depriving the served region of valuable resources
  • Mixing the small amount of dangerous faecal matter with large amounts of water spreads pathogens to receiving waters - often without treatment as it can be seen all around the world
  • Conventional sewerage systems do flood the streets with raw wastewater in countries with heavy rainy seasons in too many cases               (just to name a few of the many problems) 

replace "sanitation" with "sustainable sanitation"


  • Sustainable sanitation is designed for low water consumption (demand side management) and aims for full reuse of water and fertiliser
  • Sustainable sanitation is often based on source control of faecal matter to secure highest hygienic standards and keep it apart from freshwater
  • Sustainable sanitation is adaptable to the socio-economic conditions trough the use of high- to low-tech technologies
  • Sustainable sanitation allows economic water reuse by separate collection and treatment of greywater, the fraction of wastewater not polluted with feacal matter
  • Sustainable sanitation is often decentral and is capable to provide high performance at low costs – user involvement and proper maintenance is a key to success

Please do consider these key issues for sustainable developement for the Johannesburg summit!

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Otterpohl (responsible and available for further information)
Dirctor, Institute of Municipal and Industrial Wastewater Management, TUHH, Technical University Hamburg, Germany 
Tel. +49-40-42 878-3007,

cellphone +49-173-21 62 048        (mail your support, too)

Prof. Dr. Willi Gujer Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Member of directorate of Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology, EAWAG, Duebendorf, Switzerland

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Krebs
Director, Institute for Urban Water Management, Dresden University of Technology, Germany

Prof. Dr. Mogens Henze   mh@IMT.DTU.DK
Professor, Head of Department Environment & Resources DTU, Technical University of Denmark

Prof. Dr. Heinz A. Preisig

Professor of Systems & Control Technical University Eindhoven, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Raimund Haberl
Director, Institute of Water Provision, Dept. Sanitary Engineering, Univ. of Agricultiure, Vienna, Austria

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Wilderer
Director, Institute of Water Quality Control & Waste Managment, Technical University Munich, Germany

Prof. Dr. Goen Ho

Director, Environmental Technology Centre
, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia