4.1. Project Planning Steps - Getting Started

Tue, 09/18/2012 - 13:29 -- klm-admin

4.1.1. Management Structure and Team members

The attached workplan is for planning, construction and operation. It includes social, financial, scientific, technical and management aspects. Use this list daily to plan.

Team member are:

  • local project director
  • wastewater recycling consultant
  • local pathogen/chemicals laboratory
  • soils testing consultant
  • agronomist consultant or small farmers association
  • aquaculture consultant if fish ponds are used
  • farmer/operator
  • construction supervisor or contractor
  • administrative support for accounting, office etc. lawyer

(*NOTE: Personnel essential at the beginning of the  planning process are marked with an asterisk)

Other project participants:

  • municipality/ Mayor for political approvals
  • health agency for testing and monitoring
  • municipal legal/permits department for permit
  • community association for relations with the community
  • agro-industry representatives if in the site are
  • local representative of state environment authority
  • local representative of state/municipal water authority

A project manager coordinates personnel. If the manager works for an organization other than the municipality, a contract is signed between the organization and the municipality. If the municipality organizes the work itself, the project director should receive a written instruction from the municipality, similar to a contract.

4.1.2. Preliminary Operations Planning

Before construction starts identify who manages the facility after construction. A good operating system is a management contract between a farmer/operator and sponsor such as the municipality. Variations are possible depending on circumstances. The intended operator should be chosen and brought into planning as close to the beginning as possible, so they understand how the facility is constructed.

The capital budget needs to pay the operator salary for the first two years (one year planning/construction, one year of operation). This is paid by the municipality or sponsor. After that, revenues from the site should be sufficient to support the operator's salary.

4.1.3. Deciding the Operator

Finding the right operator is a big challenge. If selection or training are badly done, the system is going to fail. You need to pay attention to selecting the operator. A farming family is best to operate, with occasional help from an agricultural expert. It is better to have a family or team rather than a single farmer so they work as a unit. A formula is: one farmer/family operator for each 1.5 hectares. If  a site is larger the operator may have to hire workers to help manage.

The ideal operator does not exist normally and has to be trained.

However, basic desirable skills are:

  • farming experience,
  • reading/writing skills,
  • basic organizing skills
  • proven capability and interest to work independently
  • willingness to live immediately next to the site

The operator needs farming experience, as wastewater recycling is principally agricultural. Even if the operator has farming experience they also require training in integrated agriculture. Otherwise they revert to external fertilizer use, inappropriate weeding techniques, and wrong irrigation methods. It is preferable that the operator comes from the immediate local community so they do not have to move.

Start with several trainees then choose between them after six months. This involves extra cost but avoids the difficulty of losing your only candidate halfway through construction. It is also desirable to have a younger student trainee and/or sanitary engineer training on the project for future replication, but they require supervision.

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