Situated in Central America, Honduras has a total area of 112,090 sq km. It is bounded on the north and east by the Caribbean Sea, on the south by Nicaragua and the Gulf of Fonseca, on the southwest by El Salvador, and on the west by Guatemala, with a total boundary length of 2,340 km (1,454 mi), of which 820 km (509 mi) is coastline. Honduras is mountainous, with the exception of the northern Ulúa and Aguán river valleys on the Caribbean Sea and the southern coastal area. There are four main topographic regions: the eastern lowlands and lower mountain slopes, with 20% of the land area and no more than 5% of the population; the northern coastal plains and mountain slopes, with 13% of the land and about 20% of the population; the central highlands, with 65% of the area and 70% of the population; and the Pacific lowlands and their adjacent lower mountain slopes, with 2% of the area and 5% of the population.
The northern Caribbean area and the southern coastal plain have a wet, tropical climate, but the interior is drier and cooler. Temperature varies with altitude. The coastal lowlands average 31°c (88°f); from 300 to 760 m (1,000 to 2,500 ft) above sea level the average is 29°c (84°f); and above 760 m (2,500 ft) the average temperature is 23°c (73°f). There are two seasons: a rainy period, from May through October, and a dry season, from November through April. Average annual rainfall varies from over 240 cm (95 in) along the northern coast to about 84 cm (33 in) around Tegucigalpa in the south. The northwest coast is vulnerable to hurricanes.
The economy has been based mostly on agriculture, and over a third of the labor force in 2001 were still involved in this sector. However, agriculture's contribution to the overall GDP fell from 27% in 1998 to 18% in 2000 mainly due to the damage done to export crops by Hurricane Mitch in October 1998. About 16% of the land is arable, located mostly along the coastal plains. Coffee and bananas account for 65% of total Honduran export revenues.
The capital city of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, is located in the south central part of the country and the total population of Honduras is 8.2 million (2014, World Bank).
For more information see: http://www.honduras.com/
Current Issues and Challenges in Wastewater Management
(Source: “Regional Sectoral Overview of Wastewater Management in the Wider Caribbean Region. Situational Analysis” prepared by UNEP-CEP/RCU in 2010.)
- Water supply and sanitation coverage in Honduras has increased significantly in the last decades. However, the sector is still characterized by poor service quality and poor efficiency in many places. Coverage gaps still remain, particularly in rural areas (JMP WHO/UNICEF, 2006).
- Data about access to water supply and sanitation in Honduras vary depending on the source of information. For example, according to a survey in 2006, 86 percent of households had access to sanitation. The sanitation figures are much higher than the information from the WHO Joint Monitoring Programme, which shows that about 36 percent of the total population had access to sewerage; as in the following table.
- In 2003, a new Framework Law for water supply and sanitation was passed. It includes service decentralization from the national utility, National Autonomous Water and Sewerage Service (SANAA), to the municipalities. It also creates a policy council and a regulatory agency. Nevertheless, the new institutions remain weak and the process of decentralization has been slow. Furthermore, there is no policy of sector financing.
- In 2006 the government issued a Strategic Plan for the Modernization of the Water Sector to strengthen the decentralization of services.
- The Honduran water supply and sanitation sector receives significant support in terms of financing and technical assistance from a variety of donors. Most important donors are the World Bank, the IDB, USAID, the European Union, German KfW and Swiss SDC. Some channel their support through the FHIS and others through SANAA. While all donors assist municipalities and their mancomunidades concerning decentralization, some implement small subprojects for the communities themselves and others carry out subprojects of a certain size through construction companies.
- According to the 2003 Water Framework Law sector policies are defined by the National Water and Sanitation Council which is chaired by the Minister of Health. Regulation is the responsibility of the Potable Water and Sanitation Regulatory Agency.
- Water and sanitation service provision in Honduras is the responsibility of the following institutions:
- Municipalities in most urban areas;
- A private utility under concession by the municipality of San Pedro Sula;
- The National Autonomous Water and Sewerage Service (SANAA), which operates approximately half of the urban water supply and sanitation systems of Honduras, including Tegucigalpa;
- About 5,000 water boards (Juntas Administradoras de Agua) in rural areas and in marginal peri-urban areas;
- According to the Water Framework Law which passed in 2003, SANAA will have to transfer management to the municipalities until/ by? 2008.
- The Honduran Social Fund (FHIS) also plays an important role in the sector, since a large share of donor funding to the sector is channeled through it.
- The Honduran Network of Water and Sanitation (RAS-HON) is an institution for dialogue, advice and interchange of the water supply and sanitation sector, consisting of organizations, institutions and collaborating people who develop and carry out plans and projects.
- Most rural municipalities are organized in Mancomunidades or Inter-municipal Associations, many of which have formed Inter-municipal Technical Units in charge of investment projects management. The FHIS’ Rural Infrastructure Project (PIR) gives support to six of the Mancomunidades.
- Many NGOs are active in the Honduran water supply and sanitation sector. One of them is the Foundation Water for Everybody (FUNDAPAT), created in 1992 on the basis of an initiative of UNICEF, SANAA, the Tegucigalpa Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Media Association. FUNDAPAT has reached to extend coverage of potable water to 105,000 persons in 104 communities, in particular in the metropolitan area of Tegucigalpa. The communities pay back investment into a rotating fund without interests to maintain the Foundation’s capital and make possible the extension of coverage to more quarters. SANAA created a special unit for supporting those projects in poor areas.