Brazil Gets Closer to Universal Sanitation

The National Water and Sanitation Agency (ANA) has published a new standard aimed at the universal sanitation and water supply. The Reference Standard No 08/2024 was announced on May 10, 2024, and is set to come into effect on May 20, 2024.

Background

Brazil has been striving to enhance its water and sanitation infrastructure for years. The new legal framework for sanitation, Law No 14.026/2020, sets ambitious goals for the country: to achieve 99% potable water coverage and 90% sewage collection and treatment by December 31, 2033. The Reference Standard No 08/2024 is a step towards realizing these goals, providing clear guidelines for progressive targets and establishing indicators for access and evaluation systems.

Key Provisions of the Reference Standard

The regulation outlines several key directives:

  • Progressive Goals: The standard specifies that universal sanitation targets should be assessed at the municipal or district level for independent water and sanitation services, and at a regional level when applicable.
  • Quality Standards: It mandates that potable water services must meet potability standards as regulated by the Ministry of Health. Similarly, sewage treatment processes must result in effluents that comply with relevant norms and legislation.
  • Responsibility and Expansion: The universalization of access to potable water and sanitation services is designated as the responsibility of the service provider. The standard emphasizes the progressive expansion of access to all households, covering all services, infrastructure, and operational facilities.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Service providers’ responsibilities and duties regarding the universalization of water supply and sanitation must be included in the regulatory entity’s normative and in service provision contracts.

Impact and Expectations

The publication of Reference Standard No 08/2024 is expected to have a profound impact on the water and sanitation sector in Brazil. By setting clear guidelines and responsibilities, it aims to ensure that the goals set by Law No 14.026/2020 are met within the stipulated timeframe. The emphasis on quality and compliance with health standards ensures that the services provided will not only be widespread but also safe for the population.

Moreover, the focus on regionalized service provision is particularly noteworthy. It encourages the development of plans, programs, and projects that target the implementation and expansion of water and sanitation services in low-income areas. This approach is expected to address the disparities in access to these essential services and promote social equity.

Conclusion

The ANA’s Reference Standard No 08/2024 represents a crucial step in Brazil’s journey towards the universalization of water and sanitation services. It provides a structured path for service providers and regulatory entities to follow, ensuring that the ambitious goals of providing potable water and sanitation to nearly the entire population by 2033 are achievable. As the regulation comes into force, it will be essential to monitor its implementation and the progress made towards these vital targets.

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