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'Water friendly latrines' (pour flush latrines designed to use less water than normal)

related country: Cambodia
related country: Cambodia

Has anyone experience of 'water friendly latrines' (pour flush latrines designed to use less water than normal)? We're trying to gather some lessons learned on implementing pour flush latrines in areas that suffer from drought within a cultural context where latrine users have a preference for using water. Using the lessons learned, we would like to pilot some potential solutions. There is very limited user experience of composting or dry latrines in the target areas which is why these would not be suitable for the context.

3 Answers


The SatoPan seems to be quite well thought out, but I feel obliged to point out that this is virtually the same as a latrine devised by Dr Peter Morgan in Zimbabwe, which he called the WaterGate. Although it had already been patented by the Ministry of Health, he gave up on the idea when demonstrating that it was extremely robust by throwing a half brick down the pan and it broke the flap off. They were later copied in stainless steel in South Africa.

While the pan and flap look fairly robust, I remain a bit sceptical about the durability, but only time will tell. The bigger problem I think with this is likely to be the lack of a permanent water seal and so odour may be a problem.

I would recommend that you look at the PF pans that were developed by Ifo Sanitar in Sweden and are widely used in S Asia see These are designed for use in toilets where the structure is away from the pit and is designed to flush with 1.5 l of water. Having the toilet away from the pit, or pits has the advantage can they be emptied without disturbing the toilet slab. I suspect that the pan is very likely to be damaged if the slab has to be removed when the pit is full.

Whatever your chosen approach, I hope you can do better than the man in the SatoPan video when it comes to concreting. With a bit of control over the water:cement ratio, you could halve the cement content!

I hope that this helps with your search for a sustainable design.


Just to add / comment on this. At $1.50 per pan (retail) in Bangladesh, the durability is not a huge issue. A vast number are now in use, I am not sure though if any assessments have been done. Also, just to note that the design does include a water seal, just a very shallow one. Also, there is a diversion box available for this that allows it to be used with offset pits.

ErikH gravatar imageErikH ( 2016-07-13 17:13:58 )

Much appreciated for the comments. Yes, the SaTo pan is very affordable. The only down side is the cost of importation into Cambodia. Hopefully, this could be resolved in the future. We're looking forward to receiving some of the SaTo pans, and certainly we'll be conducting an evaluation into their use and user perceptions. We'll then be presenting on the topic at the national level.

Please feel free to provide any additional information as this would be useful as a form of comparison in any evaluation.

Rhock gravatar imageRhock ( 2016-07-14 07:49:27 )

Hi Rhock, we have used the SatoPan in Bangladesh, Nepal and also Nigeria. The current pans (developed by American Standards - who are now called Lixil) and produced in your area by RFL Plastics Ltd in Bangladesh, are squate style pans but they do I believe have a seated version in development as well as products to facilitate these being used with an offset pit. The water usage on these is very low.

They are also relatively cheap ex factory and RFL is able to export easily - e.g. we have sent a container load to Timor Leste. For the information of others, there is also a licensed manufacturer in Uganda now.


Excellent. Thanks for the information. I'd been trying to contact American Standard but to no avail, so thanks for letting me know that the SaToPan is now produced by Lixil, who I have now contacted. Much appreciated.

Rhock gravatar imageRhock ( 2016-06-15 08:10:27 )

Don't get too hung up on the pan design - it has to be smooth to prevent fouling but the water seal/ flap is an "add-on" rather than essential. Have a look at

for more info