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Barcelona Settled Sewer Pilot Project

A pilot project to install three communal toilet blocks using settled sewerage was planned and designed for Barcelona informal settlement from 2010-2013 with researchers from the University of Cape Town in conjunction with the City of Cape Town and Barcelona residents who were part of the Informal Settlement Network affiliated with the South African affiliate of Slum Dwellers International.


Barcelona informal settlement was established on top of a former landfill. There are public health concerns regarding development on the site, but residents are reluctant to move given its relatively accessible location near a highway and established townships.


Residents were interested in getting waterborne toilets, but wanted some reassurance that the pilot would be able to be scaled up. There was mistrust between residents and the local government due to political activities and a sense that the government 'does not keep its word'.


Although the pilot project was ultimately unable to be constructed, there were valuable lessons that can be learned to improve future partnerships between local government and communities about setting clear roles, responsibilities and expectations and the value of co-production and establishing a regular forum for communication.


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