The Center for Innovation in Alternative Technologies


En Espaņol

The Center for Innovation in Alternative Technology was founded by the architect and caricaturist, César Añorve, who inspired by the ideas of Iván Illich and Jean Robert, has dedicated himself to explore alternatives in the field of sanitation since the early eighties.

indoor dry toilet

CITA is a small non-profit organization, whose principle activities focus on encouraging techniques to conserve water. Activities include publications, exhibitions and public conferences.

CITA spreads the concept of alternative technologies to conventional sanitation by the popularization of techniques such as the ecological dry toilet, constructed wetlands for greywater treatment, composting and rainwater storage.

constructed wetlands for greywater treatment


CITA has also helped to create local sources of employment. Through cooperation with a small local business, TESEC (Tecnologías y Sistemas Ecológicos), toilet producing workshops have been replicated in various communities in México, and even in other countries. TESEC has designed a system of production which favors local fabrication with a minimum of infrastructure.


setting up a local workshop in the state of Guanajuato TESECīs dry toilet bowl production workshop











Technical Precedences

The ecological dry toilet is a direct descendent of the Vietnamese dry toilet promoted since the 1950s by Dr. Nguyen Dang Duc. Since the 1970s, the Vietnamese experience was simultaneously taken up by groups in the United States and in Guatemala. While the US group (The Farallone Group) modified the Vietnamese design and transformed it into a double vault composting toilet of 1000 liters per vault, the Guatemalan group, CEMAT (see Borremans, 1979) started to construct it with essentially no modifications. In Mexico the Vietnamese design has been modified to Mexican needs with the addition of a urine-diverting toilet bowl designed by Añorve.

The functioning of the dry ecological toilet is simple: one urine diverting mobile bowl is set on top of the opening of one of the vaults and is put to use. This vault can be named active. In the active vault, a pile of organic material forms to which ashes or lime must be added to maintain high vault of a dry toilet When this first vault is filled, the opening is sealed and the toilet bowl is transferred to the other vault. The second vault is now active while the first is passive or “for maturation” When the second vault fills up, organic fertilizer can be harvested from the first. The fertilizer has a sandy appearance which is a poor reminder of its origen: it is perfectly smell-free. The recuperated urine can be used as fertilizer. The cycle which we just summarized takes between one and a half to two years. Due to the alternating method of use, this system has been described as a double vault dry toilet with alkaline dessication.


photographs: César Añorve



For more information contact Mahsa Hojjati at:
Centro de Innovación en Tecnología Alternativa, A.C.
Ave. San Diego No. 501
Col. Vista Hermosa, C.P. 62290
Cuernavaca, Morelos
Tel./fax: (52-777) 322 8638



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Last Updated July 15, 2003