The Philippine Sanitation Alliance (PSA) was a 4-year program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented by AECOM International Development, Inc. PSA brought together cities, water utilities and private sector partners to develop affordable solutions to sanitation challenges.
The Philippines is one of the world's most biologically rich countries, but its natural ecosystems and the health of its people are increasingly under threat from rapid population growth, urbanization and weak enforcement of environmental and health laws. This degradation is directly linked to poor sanitation practices: about 24% of Filipinos do not have access to basic sanitation and more than 90% of the sewage generated is not properly treated. In addition to causing more than 55 premature deaths per day, inadequate sanitation results in annual economic losses exceeding US$1.4 billion in health, productivity, fisheries and tourism.
AECOM implemented the USAID Philippine Sanitation Alliance project from 2007-2011 to engage the private sector, local governments and water utilities in implementing the 2004 Philippine Clean Water Act. The act calls for all sources of water pollution to be connected to a sewerage system or to employ septage management systems to properly maintain septic tanks. This initiative was a Global Development Alliance (GDA) that leveraged more than $4 million in public and private financing for 46 sanitation infrastructure projects, including low-cost, low-maintenance sewerage and septage management facilities.
We cultivated a demand for services at the local level by including stakeholders in the development of their own sanitation programs, and increasing their willingness to pay for services through effective promotion campaigns. AECOM facilitated investments in decentralized sanitation systems for housing developments and commercial establishments such as hospitals, restaurants, public markets, and slaughterhouses, as well as city-wide septage management programs, whereby septic tanks are properly desludged every 3-5 years. AECOM worked with its partners to provide more than 1.4 million people with access to improved sanitation, trained more than 5,400 people, and conducted numerous water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion events across the Philippines. Governance was also strengthened to address threats to biodiversity through reduced wastewater discharges to coastal and freshwater ecosystems.