Kumudini (Kumi) Abeysuriya joined the Institute for Sustainable Futures in February 2003 as a PhD candidate, and since submitting her thesis in July 2007, has been working as a Senior Research Consultant at ISF. During her candidature she also worked on a small number of ISF projects related to energy, water and sanitation and international development on a casual basis.
Prior to joining ISF, she worked as a consultant in the New South Wales energy utilities sector with a focus on sustainability-related issues. She co-founded the green energy advocacy venture EarthWatts, and was jointly responsible for providing thought leadership for establishment of the Australian Green Electricity Market (GEM).
Kumi's PhD thesis examines how urban sanitation in developing Asian countries may be resolved in a manner aligned with sustainability. She proposes that resolution is predicated on treating the problem as a 'complex' one, and uses transdisciplinarity as a research approach. Her thesis draws on a range of disciplines including thermodynamics, ecological economics, Buddhist economics and deliberative democracy to develop guiding principles and a deliberative decision-making framework based on soft systems methodology. Kumi holds a Master of Science in experimental physics from Cornell University, USA, and a Bachelor of Science with first class honours in physics from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.
Abeysuriyaa, K., Khawaja, N., Mills, F., Carrard, N., Kome, A. & Willetts, J. 2018, 'Faecal sludge reuse in birendranagar, nepal: A case study of the world health organisation's multiple barrier approach', Water Practice and Technology, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 1-20.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© IWA Publishing. This case study presents an innovative initiative to facilitate safe reuse of faecal sludge (FS) by introducing the World Health Organisation's multi-barrier approach within a Farmer Field Schools framework for participatory experiential learning. A novel FS treatment process based on fermentation by 'effective organisms' (EM) was piloted to test the feasibility, safety and acceptability of the resulting fertilizer. Fermented FS in agricultural application was found to perform at least as well as other common fertilizers it was compared with, while its lower cost delivered higher profits per cultivated hectare. Participating farmers found it easy to prepare and use, and viewed it favourably overall. EM-based fermentation was, however, found to be insufficient as an FS treatment to render safe reuse, particularly with respect to helminth inactivation. The paper discusses strengthening the treatment barrier, and improving the application of the multi-barrier approach by the systematic consideration of non-treatment barriers using guidance from the WHO's Sanitation Safety Planning Manual. Further research to enable effective monitoring and support systems for maintaining treatment and non-treatment barriers, and for understanding long term impacts of fermented FS application is recommended. In combination, adequately treated fermented FS may be a candidate for scale up necessary for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mitchell, C., Abeysuriya, K. & Ross, K. 2016, 'Making pathogen hazards visible: a new heuristic to improve sanitation investment efficacy', Waterlines, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 163-181.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Chong, J., Willetts, J., Abeysuriya, K., Hidayat, L. & Sulistio, H. 2016, 'Strengthening Governance Arrangements for Small City and Town Sanitation', Prakarsa - Journal of the Indonesia Infrastructure Initiative, no. 23.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Mukheibir, P., Cole, C., Drinkwater, K. & Abeysuriya, K. 2015, 'Consultative multi-criteria decision making process for drought security', Water Practice & Technology, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 725-738.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Water businesses have always sought to plan for drought-resilient urban water supply systems, especially in
areas with extreme climate variability. The recently completed Lower Hunter Water Plan was developed to support
population and business growth, and ensure reliable water supplies in drought. As well as introducing Water
Wise Rules to encourage water conservation in normal conditions, the plan identified a portfolio (or combination)
of drought response measures to be deployed progressively in a drought as water storage levels drop. The keys
to the success of the Plan were thorough consultation with stakeholders, and collaborative analysis facilitating
transparent evaluation of trade-offs among options and portfolios. A multi-criteria decision analysis process
guided the assessment of the drought response options against both quantitative and qualitative criteria, and
the assembly and analysis of portfolios. The process integrated the assessment of social and environmental criteria
with cost effectiveness analysis, along with analysis of contextual uncertainties and risks, to determine the
resilience of the options under different scenarios. The outcome was a portfolio of drought response options that
best met the weighted criteria and satisfied their objectives.
Sankaran, S., Abeysuriya, K., Gray, J. & Kachenko, A. 2015, 'Mellow Yellow: Taking a Systems Thinking Approach to Designing Research on Transitioning to More Sustainable Sewage Management', Systems Research and Behavioral Science, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 330-343.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper will explain how a framework derived from systems thinking, including soft systems methodology and the use of action research as a methodology, shaped a research project addressing an area of application (sustainable sanitation). The research used F (intellectual framework) M (methodology for using F) to address A (area of application) for understanding rational intervention in human affairs proposed by Peter Checkland in the 1980s. This Australia-first research project was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of collaborators from academia, industry and government that included researchers, practitioners and students. It explored the use of innovative urine-diverting toilets in an institutional setting. The paper is focussed on the initial stages of the project—the project design and early investigative phase, and demonstrates how systems thinking and a transdisciplinary research approach were used to structure a complex problem related to sustainability, a problem that infringed on social and cultural issues.
Fam, D.M., Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K. & Lopes, A. 2014, 'Emergence of decentralised water and sanitation systems in Melbourne, Australia', International Journal of Water, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 149-165.View/Download from: Publisher's site
In Melbourne, Australia, a shift is occurring in the approach to wastewater management. With increased pressure from landscape drivers such as population growth, urbanisation, and over a decade of extended drought conditions, a new model of wastewater management is being explored by Melbourne?s metropolitan water utilities in the development of their latest Metropolitan Sewerage Strategy (MSS).With input from key industry leaders and a broad range of stakeholders a collaborative ?vision? of sustainable sewerage services to Melbourne over a 50 year timeframe was developed with decentralised systems emerging as a key, long-term component of service delivery. Drawing on the multi-level perspective (MLP), we investigate the interrelated and reinforcing factors that have driven this shift in perception toward decentralised systems and serious consideration of alternative socio-technical configurations of wastewater management in Melbourne?s future planning strategy. We then explore the process in which cross disciplinary participants from industry, government and civil society articulated their vision of a long term sustainable sanitation future for Melbourne.
Abeysuriya, K., Fam, D.M. & Mitchell, C.A. 2013, 'Trialling urine diversion in Australia: technical and social learnings', Water Science and Technology, vol. 68, no. 10, pp. 2186-2194.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper discusses a urine diversion (UD) trial implemented within the institutional setting of the University of Technology Sydney that sought to identify key issues for public UD and reuse systems at scale in the Australian urban context. The trial was novel in its transdisciplinary action research approach, that included consideration of urine diverting toilets (UDTs) as socio-technical systems where interactions between users' practices and perceptions and the performance of the technology were explored. While the study explored a broad range of issues that included urine transport, reuse, and regulations, amongst others, the boundary of the work presented in this paper is the practicalities of UD practice within public urban buildings. Urine volume per urinal use, an important metric for sizing tanks for collecting urine from waterless urinal systems in commercial buildings, was also estimated. The project concluded that current UDTs are unsuitable to public/commercial spaces, but waterless urinals have a key role.
Fam, D.M., Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K. & Meeks, T. 2013, 'Facilitating organisational learning to support decision making and planning for sustainability in the water sector', Water Policy, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 1094-1108.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper investigates the process of organisational learning in decision making and planning for sustainability in the water sector. A Melbourne water utility (Yarra Valley Water) trialling sustainable systems of service provision utilised multi-stakeholder experiences to facilitate learning within the organisation. Diverse perspectives of the trial were sought through 50 interviews with staff managing/operating/maintaining the system and household residents using the system. Outcomes from interviews were shared with the project team in a social learning workshop and translated into recommendations for trialling innovation within the water utility and more broadly within the Australian water sector. The facilitated process of organisational learning highlighted the importance of crossdepartmental communication and co-operation, reflective processes of management and the value of a `transdisciplinary approach to planning and implementing novel systems of service provision. The outcome was the development of new procedures to support integrated knowledge development in trialling innovation within Yarra Valley Water.
Abeysuriya, K., Willetts, J.R., Carrard, N.R. & Mitchell, C.A. 2013, 'Decentralised and distributed systems: What will it take to make them a sustainable option for urban sanitation in the 21st Century?', Water21, vol. June, pp. 42-44.
Abeysuriya, K., Mitchell, C.A. & Willetts, J.R. 2008, 'Expanding economic perspectives for sustainability in urban water and sanitation', Development, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 23-29.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The economic principles and tools that are commonly applied to recover costs for urban water and sanitation arise from the dominant perspective of neo-classical economics, with its emphasis on 'full cost pricing' based on the 'user pays' principle. Kumudini Abeysuriya, Cynthia Mitchell and Juliet Willetts examine two other qualitatively different economic perspectives to demonstrate how they lead to different approaches: ecological economics takes a more holistic approach explicitly committed to sustainability, while Buddhist economics brings ethics to the fore and opens the possibility for cooperation between the various actors in creating solutions to benefit individuals, society and the environment. We propose a set of interconnected guiding principles based on an expanded economic perspective that integrates all three perspectives, to enable water and sanitation services for developing countries to align with sustainability
Abeysuriya, K., Mitchell, C.A. & White, S. 2007, 'Can corporate social responsibility resolve the sanitation question in developing Asian countries?', Ecological Economics, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 174-183.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Urban sanitation and waste management services are in crisis in many Asian countries, attributed to a number of factors. In this paper we argue that the crisis is exacerbated by the application of inappropriate economic and technological models for urban sanitation. We examine why the dominant models, including full-cost pricing driven by neoclassical economics, are inappropriate in the context of Asian countries. On the basis of Ecological Economics and Buddhist Economics, we identify a set of principles for arriving at more sustainable solutions. Sanitationâs role as a service for waste removal and disposal is expanded to a synergistic group of economically feasible services provided through cooperation between service providers, community and government. The STEEP framework is shown to be a useful way to tailor the sanitation options on the basis of contextual factors.
Willetts, J.R., Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K. & Fam, D.M. 2012, 'Creative tensions: negotiating the multiple dimensions of a transdisciplinary doctorate' in Lee, A. & Dnaby, S. (eds), Reshaping Doctoral Education: International Approaches and Pedagogies, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 128-143.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Abeysuriya, K., Mitchell, C.A. & Willetts, J.R. 2010, 'Urban sanitation through the lens of Thomas Kuhn' in McNeill, J.R., Padua, J.A. & Rangarajan, M. (eds), Environmental History: As if Nature Existed, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India, pp. 65-84.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
It is a commonly held idea that developing countries would follow the development path forged by industrialized countries, aided by these 'more developed' countries (McGranahan et al. 2001: 3). Thus, the urban sanitary practices of industrialized countries, which have contributed to the dignity, health, and wealth of people in those countries, have great bearing on the practices and the aspirations of developing countries.
Abeysuriya, K., Mitchell, C.A. & Willetts, J.R. 2007, 'Cost recovery for urban sanitation in Asian countries: insurmountable barrier or opportunity for sustainability?' in Nair, P. (ed), Urban Public Services: A Development Perspective, The Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) University Press, Hyderabad, India, pp. 312-332.
Mitchell, C., Abeysuriya, K., Ross, K.E., Eales, K., Willetts, J. & Mills, F. 2017, 'Achieving safe management: A case for strengthening the attention to liquid streams in on-site and local sanitation', Fecal Sludge Management 4 Conference, Chennai.
Ross, K., Abeysuriya, K. & Mitchell, C. 2015, 'Developing principle-based indicators for the SDGs: A sanitation case study', 3rd Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development, Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development, New York City.
Abeysuriya, K.R., Wedahuditama, F., Chong, J. & Willetts, J. 2016, 'Strengthening local government governance for long-term sanitation service delivery', WASH Futures Conference, Brisbane.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Chong, J., Abeysuriya, K., Hidayat, L., Sulistio, H. & Willetts, J.R. 2016, 'Strengthening local governance arrangements for sanitation: case studies of small cities in Indonesia', Aquatic Procedia, Annual World Water Week (WWW), Elsevier: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives License, Stockholm, Sweden, pp. 64-73.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Local governments in Indonesia have the primary responsibility for delivering sanitation (wastewater) services. However, in large part due to governance factors, local governments invest little in sanitation services and delivery of services is weak. This research adopted a participatory, case study approach to investigate governance and institutional arrangements for planning, budgeting and implementing sanitation services in small cities and towns in Sumatra, Indonesia. The research focused on the effectiveness of city/regency planning for sanitation, the effectiveness of pokja sanitasi (sanitation committees), the links between planning and investment, and local government roles and responsibilities. This paper presents the findings of three case studies. Barriers to effective delivery of sanitation services include: prescriptive local budgeting and approval systems; lack of local government ownership of assets; and policy, funding and technical arrangements that are biased against strategic delivery.
Chong, J., Abeysuriya, K., Hidayat, L., Sulistio, H., Suartana, N., Ross, K. & Willetts, J. 2015, 'Strengthening institutional and governance arrangements for small city sanitation, Indonesia', Stockholm World Water Week 2016, Stockholm, Sweden.
Abeysuriya, K.R., Kome, A. & Willetts, J. 2015, 'Enabling investment in urban sanitation services through the sustainable full cost recovery principle', Website proceedings of 38th WEDC International Conference, Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) International Conference, WEDC, Loughborough University, UK, pp. 1-7.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Limited access to capital to invest in sanitation is key amongst a range of complex reasons that result in
extensive lack of adequate sanitation services. Financing upfront investment has been identified as a
particular knowledge gap for many sanitation practitioners. This paper discusses a project to enable
participatory learning about financing investment in sanitation infrastructure services for sector
practitioners. Findings from a desktop review were deliberated upon through an online discussion
leading to fresh insights. The study recognised that leveraging revenue sources beyond tariffs is key to
securing the relatively large amounts of upfront finance required, reflecting a departure from the 'full
cost recovery through tariffs' paradigm. The new paradigm calls for greater commitment from local and
national governments to support ongoing sanitation service provision, and 'sustainable full cost
recovery' of lifecycle costs through a combination of four potential revenue streams (4Ts) – Tariffs from
users, Taxes from government, Transfers from donors and Trade profits from the reuse of waste-derived
Mukheibir, P., Abeysuriya, K., Drinkwater, K. & Cole, C. 2014, 'Multi-criteria decision support for drought security', Proceedings of OzWater'14', Australian Water Association Convention - Ozwater, Australian Water Association (AWA), Brisbane, QLD.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The recently completed Lower Hunter Water Plan identified a portfolio of drought response measures to ensure that the region does not run out of water under severe drought conditions. A multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) process was developed to guide the assessment of the drought response options against multiple criteria (both quantitative and qualitative), and for the assembly and analysis of drought response portfolios. The process guided stakeholders in considering a wide range of alternative supply and demand side options, and allowed for the transparent trade-off between options or portfolios of options. The MCDA process integrated the assessment of social, environmental and risk/resilience criteria with cost effectiveness analysis. The process also included the analysis of contextual uncertainties and risk to determine the flexibility of the options under different future situations. The outcome of this process revealed a portfolio of drought response options that best met the weighted critieria and satisfied the drought response objectives.
Mitchell, C., Abeysuriya, K., Ross, K. & Mikhailovich, N. 2018, 'Effective governance for the operation of decentralised sanitation systems', Water Sanitation and Hygiene Futures Conference 2014, Brisbane.
Fam, D.M., Abeysuriya, K., Meeks, T., Sharples, J. & Mitchell, C.A. 2012, 'Social learning is essential in transitioning to sustainable water services', Proceedings of OzWater'12 'Sharing Knowledge, Planning the Future', Australian Water Association Convention - Ozwater, Australian Water Association (AWA), Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-2.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Transitioning the water industry towards more sustainable outcomes requires innovation in two dimensions: the technologies we implement and the people who engage with those technologies. This innovation is challenging, and requires shifts in thinking of both those who use the technology and those who design, construct, and operate the technologies. For users of new technologies, the changes are about every day habits and practices. For those implementing new technologies and systems within the water industry, the challenges are about changes in the existing institutions, professional norms, and belief systems, as well as requisite skills and capacities.
Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K. & Fam, D.M. 2012, 'Urine Diversion (UD) for P recovery: Learning from experience', 3rd Sustainable Phosphorus Summit, Developing a Blueprint for Global Phosphorus Security, Global Phosphorus Research Initiative (GPRI), University of Technology Sydney.
Fam, D.M., Mitchell, C.A. & Abeysuriya, K. 2011, 'Learning to facilitate learning', 2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions, 2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions - Diversity, plurality and change: breaking new grounds in sustainability transition research, Lund University, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
Fam, D.M., Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K. & Lopes, A. 2011, 'Facilitating social learning in transdisciplinary collaboration: a socio-technical experiment in implementing sustainable sanitation', 55th Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, All together now - working across disciplines: People, principles and practice, International Society of Systems Scientists, Hull, UK.
Abeysuriya, K., Fam, D.M., Hagare, P. & Williams, J. 2010, 'Transitioning to sustainable sanitation through cross disciplinary, practice-based research: an on-campus pilot of urine diversion at UTS', The 10th international conference of Australasian campuses towards sustainability (ACTS Inc): connecting curriculum and campus, International conference of Australasian campuses towards sustainability, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-8.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Waterborne sanitation using flushing toilets and sewer networks has been recognised as the most important medical milestone for its transformational impact on urban public health since the 19th century (Ferriman 2007). While this model of urban sanitation has become the accepted norm for the industrialised world, its cost and resource-intensive nature is increasingly recognised as unsustainable. Several alternative models offering improved sustainability through greater material efficiency have emerged (West 2003). One of these is urine diversion (UD), the topic of this paper.
Fam, D.M., Mitchell, C.A. & Abeysuriya, K. 2010, 'Institutional challenges to system innovation in wastewater management - the case of urine diversion in Sweden', Cities of The Future 2010, Cities of The Future 2010, IWA, Marriott hotel, Boston, USA.
Fyfe, J., Abeysuriya, K., Glassmire, J. & Mitchell, C.A. 2010, 'Centralised or decentralised? Environmental assessment of distributed wastewater treatment and reuse infrastructure options for a new land release', Proceedings of OzWater'10: Achieving Water Security, OzWater'10: Achieving Water Security, Australian Water Association (AWA), Brisbane, Australia.
Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K., Willetts, J.R. & Fam, D.M. 2010, 'Enabling decentralized urban sewage infrastructure by facilitating successful organisations to provide long-term management', Cities of The Future 2010, Cities of the Future 2010, IWA, Marriott Hotel, Boston, USA.
Sankaran, S., Abeysuriya, K., Gray, J. & Kachenko, A. 2010, 'Closing the loop: A systems thinking led sustainable sanitation project in Australia', 54th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences 2010: Governance for a Resilient Planet, pp. 346-358.
This paper will explain a research project being carried out in Sydney, Australia at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) highlighting the systems thinking principles and action research methodology being adopted in this project. UTS is set to participate in an Australia-first research project, led by the Institute of Sustainable Futures (ISF), exploring the use of innovative urine diverting toilets in an institutional setting. A UTS Challenge Grant (an internal grant scheme to promote innovative collaborative research) has been awarded to the project which will enable safe nutrient capture and reuse from urine diverting toilets installed on campus for a trial period. The Challenge Grant has some enthusiastic industry partners including the local water utility Sydney Water; the sanitary-ware manufacturer Caroma Dorf; the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia; government partners (NSW Department of Health, and City of Sydney) and the UTS Facilities Management Unit. Researchers from the University of Western Sydney and University of New South Wales in Australia as well as Linkoping University in Sweden are collaborators in this research.
Sankaran, S., Abeysuriya, K., Gray, J. & Kachenko, A. 2010, 'Closing the loop: A systems thinking led sustainable sanitation project in Australia', Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the ISSS, Meeting of the International Society for the System Sciences, International Society for the System Sciences, Waterloo, Canada, pp. 1-13.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper will explain a research project being carried out in Sydney, Australia at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) highlighting the systems thinking principles and action research methodology being adopted in this project. UTS is set to participate in an Australia-first research project, led by the Institute of Sustainable Futures (ISF), exploring the use of innovative urine diverting toilets in an institutional setting. A UTS Challenge Grant (an internal grant scheme to promote innovative collaborative research) has been awarded to the project which will enable safe nutrient capture and reuse from urine diverting toilets installed on campus for a trial period. The Challenge Grant has some enthusiastic industry partners including the local water utility Sydney Water; the sanitaryware manufacturer CaromaDorf; the Nursery and Garden Industry Association; government partners (NSW Department of Health, and City of Sydney) and the UTS Facilities Management Unit. Researchers from the University of Western Sydney and University of New South Wales in Australia as well as Linkoping University in Sweden are collaborators in this research.
Abeysuriya, K. & Mitchell, C.A. 2008, 'The end of water sector privatisation in an age of cooperation?', Conference Report: International Conference on Water Resources Policy in South Asia, SaciWATERs International Conference on Water Resources Policy in South Asia, SaciWATERs (South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies), Colombo, Sri Lanka, pp. 1-58.
Fam, D.M., Mitchell, C.A. & Abeysuriya, K. 2009, 'Critical stakeholder engagement in shifting paradigms from removal to recovery in wastewater management - a case study of implementing urine diversion in Sweden', Asia-Pacific Science, Technology and Society Network Conference 2009, Griffith University, Brisbane.
Fam, D.M., Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K. & Mellick-Lopes, A. 2009, 'Distributed wastewater management in Melbourne, Australia: A case study of transition in practice', 1st European Conference on Sustainability Transitions, Dynamics and governance of transitions to sustainability, Amsterdam.
Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K. & Fam, D.M. 2009, 'Sanitary systems: lifecycle thinking leads to consideration of distributed infrastructure', 4th International Conference on Life Cycle Management, The Global Challenge of Managing Life Cycles, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town, South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa, pp. 1-7.
Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K., Willetts, J.R. & Macrellis, A. 2009, 'New 'How to' guidance for successful responsible management entities', National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) 18th Annual Technical Education Conference and Exposition, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K. & Willetts, J.R. 2008, 'Institutional arrangements for onsite and decentralised systems: needs and opportunities for key players in the field of distributed wastewater management', Proceedings of Onsite and Decentralised Sewerage & recycling Conference Comming Clean: Sustainable Backyards and Beyond!, Onsite and Decentralised Sewerage and Recycling Conference, Australian Water Association, Benalla, Victoria, pp. 150-157.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Abeysuriya, K. & Mitchell, C.A. 2007, 'Creating change through deliberation and learning systems', ANZSEE Conference 2007 Re-inventing Sustainability: A Climate for Change, Noosaville, Qld, Australia.
Abeysuriya, K., Willetts, J.R. & Mitchell, C.A. 2006, 'Kuhn on sanitation: dignity, health and wealth for the children of the revolution', Proceedings of the Ninth Biennial Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics: Ecological Sustainability and Human Well-being, The International Society for Ecological Economics and The Indian Society for Ecological Economics, New Dehli, India, pp. 1-23.
The urban sanitation practices of industrialised countries greatly influence the aspirations of most of the developing world for western style sewerage. The practices in industrialised countries arose out of a particular history: the set of economic, social and environmental conditions prevailing in industrialising Europe in the mid-nineteenth century. Examining that history and its logical trajectory may provide insights for resolving problematic sanitation for developing countries. Kuhn's analysis of the history of science, as a series of scientific revolutions whereby scientific paradigms rise and fall in the trajectory of scientific advancement, is a useful framework for examining the history of urban sanitation. It allows us to see a pattern in the history of sanitation and to map past sanitation practices of industrialised countries to various stages in the trajectory. Furthermore, it illuminates the present as leading up to the next paradigm revolution, indicated by the burgeoning of new problems and the emergence of a number of alternative approaches to resolving them consistent with the values of sustainability. We identify emerging concepts aligned with ecological economics that could potentially define the successor to the currently dominant paradigm for urban sanitation. The opportunity for innovation through the application of these concepts is greatest where no substantial investment in conventional sanitation has already been made, namely, cities in developing countries.
Abeysuriya, K., Mitchell, C.A. & Willetts, J.R. 2005, 'Cost recovery for urban sanitation in Asian countries: insurmountable barrier or opportunity for sustainability?', Australia New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics Conference Proceedings, Ecological Economics in Action, Australia New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics, Palmerston North, NZ, pp. 17-29.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Urban sanitation and waste management services are in crisis in many Asian countries, attributed to a number of factors. In this paper we argue that the crisis is exacerbated by the application of inappropriate economic and technological models for urban sanitation. We examine why the dominant models, including full-cost pricing driven by neoclassical economics, are inappropriate in the context of Asian countries. On the basis of Ecological Economics and Buddhist Economics, we identify a set of principles for arriving at more sustainable solutions. Sanitations role as a service for waste removal and disposal is expanded to a synergistic group of economically feasible services provided through cooperation between service providers, community and government. The STEEP framework is shown to be a useful way to tailor the sanitation options on the basis of contextual factors.
Fane, S.A., Willetts, J.R., Abeysuriya, K., Mitchell, C.A., Etnier, C. & Johnstone, S. 2004, 'Evaluating reliability and life-cycle cost for decentralised wastewater within the context of asset management', Proceedings of 6th Specialist Conference on Small Water and Wastewater Systems and 1st International Conference on Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Recycling, 6th Specialist Conference on Small Water and Wastewater Systems and 1st International Conference on Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Recycling, IWA, Fremantle, Australia, pp. 1-8.
ISF prepared a Decision Making Framework to guide decision making within QUU from strategic planning decisions through to those made at the implementation stage. the process ensures that the correct level of information is considered and that the right tool for each decision is used. A case example was prepared to illustrate how the process would work in practice. the Decision Making Framework is support by two guidebooks on cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA).
Abeysuriya, K., Khawaja, N., Mills, F., Carrard, N., Kome, A. & Willetts, J.R. 2017, Applying the WHO's multi-barrier approach to faecal sludge reuse, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Kome, A., Ross, K.E., Carrard, N., Willetts, J., Mills, F., Abeysuriya, K. & Murta, J. 2016, Learning Brief: Exploring legal and policy aspects of urban sanitation and hygiene, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Our aim is to provoke practitioners, policy makers and development agencies to reflect on their approaches to city sanitation planning and the assumptions that underlie them. The document is not intended as a critique, and it does not recommend a particular planning approach. Nor does it add to existing stocks of guidance materials on how to develop sanitation plans (e.g. Sanitation 21, WHO Sanitation Safety Planning Guide 2015, Community-Led Urban Environmental Sanitation Planning (CLUES), guidance for City Sanitation Strategies (SSK) in Indonesia and City Sanitation Plans (CSPs) in India etc). Rather, our premise is that raising awareness of underlying assumptions in sanitation planning may lead to better targeted approaches to sanitation planning, if and when those assumptions are shown not to match realities.
Kome, A., Ross, K., Carrard, N., Willetts, J., Mills, F., Abeysuriya, K.R. & Murta, J. SNV and ISF 2016, Exploring legal and policy aspects of urban sanitation and hygiene.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
During 2012-2014, SNV did four country reviews of legal arrangements for urban sanitation and hygiene (Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Indonesia).
Based on this experience, this document was developed to provide guidance on how to undertake a legal scan for urban sanitation.
Over time, the ultimate objective of this work and related activities is that WASH professionals will be able to undertake a high-level assessment of legal arrangements for urban sanitation in order to both:
1. use the frameworks and tools offered by legal and policy arrangements to improve urban sanitation and hygiene outcomes; and
2. advocate for improvements in legal, policy and institutional arrangements to facilitate sustainable sanitation and hygiene outcomes for all.
Mitchell, C., Ross, K., Abeysuriya, K., Puspowardoyo, P. & Wedahuditama, F. ISF, UTS 2015, Effective governance for the successful long-term operation of community scale air limbah systems: Mid-term Observations Report, Sydney, Australia.
Prepared by the ISF, UTS as part of the Australian Development Research Award Scheme.
Chong, J., Abeysuriya, K., Hidayat, L., Sulistio, H., Ross, K. & WIlletts, J. Report prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Kemitraan Partnership for Governance Reform and SNV Indonesia for the Australian Aid Indonesia Infrastructure Initiative (IndII). 2015, Strengthening governance arrangements for small city and town sanitation..View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Chong, J., Ross, K., Abeysuriya, K., Hidayat, L., Sulisto, H., Suartana, N., Carreiro, M. & Willetts, J. 2015, Strengthening governance arrangements for small city and town sanitation in Sumatra, Indonesia – a selection of key themes for local governments and policy makers. A Briefing Paper..View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This project brief summarises key themes from research that investigated local government governance and institutional arrangements for sanitation (wastewater) planning, budgeting and implementation in small cities and towns in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Abeysuriya, K.R. SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and Institute for Sustainable Futures 2014, Proceedings of the Learning Event on Urban Sanitation - Upgrading and Emptying of On-site Facilities.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Ross, K., Abeysuriya, K., Mitchell, C. & Mikhailovich, N. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2014, Governance for decentralized sanitation: Global Practice Scan. A working document., pp. 1-44, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This research intends to make a significant contribution to a critical gap in sectoral knowledge on how to enable effective governance for decentralised sanitation service delivery
Mukheibir, P. & Abeysuriya, K. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Multi-criteria decision support framework for the Lower Hunter Water Plan: Process, options and portfolio assessments, Sydney, Australia.
Mitchell, C.A., Fam, D.M. & Abeysuriya, K. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2013, Transitioning to sustainable sanitation: a transdisciplinary pilot project of urine diversion, pp. 1-137, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Hamlyn- Harris, D., Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K. & Turner, A.J. Bligh Tanner Consulting Engineers and Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2012, Study of local alternative water supplies: Discussion paper, pp. 1-82, Brisbane, Australia.
Mitchell, C.A., Fam, D.M. & Abeysuriya, K. Institute of Sustainable Futures 2011, Mutual Learning for Social Change: Using social research to support the introduction of urine diverting toilets in the Kinglake West Sewerage Project, pp. 1-23, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Fam, D.M., Mitchell, C.A. & Abeysuriya, K. Prepared for Yarra Valley water by the Institute of Sustainable Futures 2010, Kinglake mutual learning for social change project - international and local review of user manuals for urine diverting toilets, pp. 1-16, University of Technology, Sydney.
International and local review if urine diversion instructional material for users
Retamal, M.L., Glassmire, J., Abeysuriya, K., Turner, A.J. & White, S. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2009, The water-energy nexus: investigation into the energy implications of household rainwater systems, Sydney, Australia.
Dunstan, C., Abeysuriya, K. & Shirley, W. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2008, Win, win, win: Regulating electricity distribution networks for reliability, consumers and the environment: review of the NSW D-Factor and alternative mechanisms to encourage demand management, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K. & Fam, D.M. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2008, Development of qualitative decentralized system concepts for the 2009 Metropolitan Sewerage Strategy. vol 1: synthesis report, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Mitchell, C.A., Abeysuriya, K. & Fam, D.M. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2008, Development of qualitative decentralized system concepts for the 2009 Metropolitan Sewerage Strategy. vol 2: concepts and case studies, Sydney, Australia.