Simplified Planning Tool - English version

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

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 since it is assumed that these aspects are already considered in the framework conditions, i.e. it is assumed that all systems fulfilling 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.
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 Toolbox (SSWM Toolbox; These functional groups include: Water sources, Water purification, Water distribution, Water use, Waste collection and transport, Waste treatment, and Reuse.

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 that is carried out in the pilot communities in the 5 African CLARA countries.


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.


• Full costs (investment, operation and maintenance, and reinvestment costs) of different alternative system solutions can be compared
• Resource oriented WATSAN- systems are included
• Only limited amount of input data are required and thus applicable for the early pre-planning phase
• Assumptions made to develop costs functions are clearly described
• Costs 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


• Software implemented in MS Excel® and thus requires MS Excel® (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)


Version 1.6 of the CLARA SPT was released in February 2015. In v1.6 we corrected some minor errors in the previous version of the tool and made some modifications that are based on the work of Ketema and Langergraber (2015a,b).


The country-specific CLARA SPT versions can be downloaded as single zip-files including the SPT file itself (version 1.6 of the CLARA SPT is implemented in Microsoft Excel*, MS Excel* 2010 is required), the user manual and the "Technology descriptions":

User Manual

SPT-Burkina Faso




SPT-South Africa




Ketema, A.A., Langergraber, G. (2015a): Sensitivity of results from the CLARA Simplified Planning Tool for different input parameters. Water Science and Technology 71(2), 234-244, doi: 10.2166/wst.014.497.


Ketema, A.A., Langergraber, G. (2015b): Three supplementary methods for sensitivity analysis of water supply system's life cycle cost using the CLARA Simplified Planning Tool. Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology - AQUA, in press, doi: 10.2166/aqua.2015.126.




Version 1.6 of the CLARA SPT is only available in English, users are advised to only use v1.6. (also see French Version).