CLARA Simplified Planning Tool

Compiled by:
Günter Langergraber (BOKU University)

Executive Summary

The CLARA Simplified Planning Tool (SPT) provides a tool to local planners, which not only allows but even encourages the comparison of fundamentally different water and sanitation systems at a very early planning stage. Using the SPT requires a limited amount of effort from the planner and thus results in minimal costs for the client.

Introduction

The CLARA Simplified Planning Tool (SPT) aims to support local planners to find the best solution for water supply and sanitation interventions. Simplified in the sense that the software tool is based on numbers of assumptions, which allow the planner to use the SPT with a limited amount of data available at the pre-planning phase of a project.

 Langergraber (2014)

"Project information" sheet of the CLARA SPT for a simple example comparing a water-borne and a dry sanitation system for 10'000 people. Source: LANGERGRABER (2014)

The SPT compares full costs (investment, operation and maintenance, and re-investment costs) of various alternatives of water supply and sanitation systems. Environmental, social and health aspects are not considered explicitly: it is assumed that these aspects are already considered in the framework conditions, i.e. all systems fulfil the legal requirements, benefit environment and health and are socially appropriate. With this assumption, the comparison of alternatives can justifiably be reduced to comparing the costs. Net present values of all costs are calculated and used for comparison.

   Langergraber (2014)

Development of total costs over time for a simple example comparing a water-borne and a dry sanitation system for 10'000 people. Source: LANGERGRABER (2014) 

The user of the CLARA simplified planning tool - the planner - is responsible for developing appropriate alternative solutions. Technologies are grouped in functional groups as defined in the Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management Loop. These functional groups include: Water sources, Water purification, Water distribution, Water use, Waste collection and transport, Waste treatment, and Reuse and Recharge.

Technologies in the functional groups have to be compiled to systems. Examples of combinations of technologies to meet specific requirements in the functional groups "Waste collection" and "Waste treatment" are shown in the user manual (CASIELLES RESTOY et al., 2014).

Cost functions that relate costs to input parameters have been developed for each technology implemented in the CLARA SPT. Therefore for each technology standard designs have been defined, designs have been made for several sizes, and the costs have been calculated from Bills of Quantities developed for these design sizes.

"Technology description" provided with the CLARA SPT include the main assumptions made for developing the costs functions and include: a short description of the technology, design assumptions, input data (in the SPT, the validity range of the cost function, the assumed lifespan of the technology and its components, and the assumptions for calculating O&M costs).

The CLARA SPT has been adapted to the different requirements of the African CLARA partner countries, i.e. Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa. Specific design requirements and unit prices have been considered for these countries before country-specific cost functions were developed. The country specific versions of the CLARA SPT have been prepared and tested during the planning process with pilot communities in the 5 African CLARA countries.

The country-specific CLARA SPT versions can be downloaded as single zip-files from the webpage: http://clara.boku.ac.at/index.php/planning-tool-2

Each zip file comprises:

  • The SPT file itself (version 1.5 of the CLARA SPT is implemented in Microsoft Excel®, MS Excel® 2010 is required)
  • The user manual
  • The "Technology descriptions"

Acknowledgements

The work was carried out within the project CLARA (Capacity-Linked water supply and sanitation improvement for Africa’s peri-urban and Rural Areas; Contract # 265676; duration: 1.3.2011 – 28.2.2014), a Collaborative Project funded within the EC 7th Framework Programme, Theme "Environment (including Climate Change)".

Applicability

The CLARA SPT shall be used to compare the real costs of various alternatives of water supply and sanitation systems (e.g. comparing water-borne and dry sanitation systems) in the pre-planning phase.

The tool cannot be used to compare:

  • alternative solutions that do not provide the same service (e.g. comparing a solution that fulfils the legal requirements with e.g. the solution "no sanitation facilities");
  • costs of single technologies during detailed planning;
  • environmental, social and health impacts (as they are considered to be fulfilled when the framework conditions are met), and
  • a solution that fulfils legal requirements with e.g. the solution "no sanitation facilities" as these 2 alternatives do not have the same impact. However, the tool can be used to compare.

Advantages

  • Full costs (investment, operation and maintenance, and reinvestment costs) of different alternative system solutions can be compared
  • Resource oriented water and sanitation systems are evaluated
  • Only limited amount of input data required, and thus applicable in the early pre-planning phase
  • Assumptions made to develop costs functions are clearly described
  • Costs are based on real cost data from 5 African countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa)
  • Cost functions can be changed if more (detailed) information is available
  • Adaptation to other (African) countries is possible

Disadvantages

  • The Software is implemented in MSExcel® and thus requires MSExcel® (version higher than 2010) to be used
  • Limited amount of technologies implemented (those that have been classified by the CLARA project partners as relevant for their countries)
  • Comparison of systems with different performance is possible (mass flow balance not yet implemented)
  • Simplifying assumptions resulting in uncertainties of costs
  • Cost functions based on BoQs and not real cost, due to lack of information/applied technologies
  • Adaptation to other (African) countries requires some efforts (evaluation of specific design requirements and collection of unit prices)

References Library

CASIELLES RESTOY, R.; LECHNER, M.; LANGERGRABER, G. (2014): CLARA Simplified Planning Tool v1.5. User Manual. URL [Accessed: 03.02.2014].

Further Readings Library

Reference icon

CASIELLES RESTOY, R.; LECHNER, M.; LANGERGRABER, G. (2014): CLARA Simplified Planning Tool v1.5. User Manual. URL [Accessed: 03.02.2014].

This document presents the user manual for the CLARA Simplified Planning Tool (SPT). It is not aimed to provide a guide on the planning process of water supply and sanitation systems, it just describes the use of the CLARA SPT.


Training Material Library

Reference icon

CASIELLES RESTOY, R.; LECHNER, M.; LANGERGRABER, G. (2014): CLARA Simplified Planning Tool v1.5 User Manual (French version). URL [Accessed: 03.02.2014].

This document presents the user manual for the CLARA Simplified Planning Tool (SPT) in French. It is not aimed to provide a guide on the planning process of water supply and sanitation systems, it just describes the use of the CLARA SPT.


Important Weblinks

http://clara.boku.ac.at/ [Accessed: 04.02.2014]

CLARA project website where all relevant material on CLARA can be found.