WGF Report 7 – The process of developing the water supply and sanitation strategy for emerging towns in Laos

This report looks at steps that have been taken to put emerging towns on the political agenda in Laos, leading to an increase in water supply and sanitation services in emerging towns.

The specific focus of this report are the water supply and sanitation sector strategy for emerging towns and the Lao National Water Treatment Plant Database, both produced with the support of the GoAL WaSH programme.

The more than one billion people living in small and emerging towns without access to water and sanitation services has become a major global concern in recent decades. Typically, these small settlements have a relatively small but rapidly increasing population and a mixture of urban and rural characteristics. They don’t fit neatly into the water and sanitation sector, in which water supply systems are traditionally ‘urban’ or ‘rural’, where urban services are larger, more complex, and operated by a utility as opposed to the simpler, community-operated rural systems. With different agencies commonly responsible for urban and rural services, many small and emerging towns that are viewed as neither urban nor rural have fallen into a gap in service provision. This has been the case in Laos, where a large proportion of the population live in small urban centres.

This WGF report is part of a knowledge management initiative – Lessons From the Field – established under the GoAL WaSH programme. The aim is to generate a collection of publications and other products that will gather knowledge of relevant national governance related processes that have occurred at country level during GoAL WaSH implementation.


UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility (2017). The process of developing the water supply and sanitation strategy for emerging towns in Laos. WGF Report No. 7 (GoAL WaSH Lessons From the Field), SIWI, Stockholm