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Self-supply: why I wrote the book

by Dr Sally Sutton, SWL Consultants, on her new book “Self-supply: Filling the gaps in public water supply provision” available to buy, or free to download from Practical Action Publishing from 15 February 2021.

Moving from deserts to humid lands

After 14 years working as a hydrogeologist in the deserts of the Middle East on traditional water supplies and wellfield construction, I moved to sub-Saharan Africa, which presented a whole new challenge.

The easier availability of water was the most obvious difference – sometimes too much so (see photo)- but other important ones were the low quality of water and scattered population.

New challenges – Large areas with accessible groundwater and sparse populations – water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.
Continue reading “Self-supply: why I wrote the book”

Lanzamiento virtual del libro : Autoabastecimiento – llenando los vacíos del suministro público de agua

Este es un blog de la Dra. Sally Sutton, el Dr. John Butterworth y Matthias Saladin. Ofrece una visión general de la presentación virtual del libro “Self-supply – filling the gaps in public water supply provision”, que ocurrió el 25 de marzo.

Figura 1 El suministro de agua in situ se utiliza para muchos fines. Tener un pozo propio suele mejorar la seguridad alimentaria y los ingresos, entre otros beneficios.

El primer libro dedicado al autoabastecimiento

El evento comenzó con una presentación de la autora principal, la Dra. Sally Sutton, en la que se destacaron brevemente cuestiones específicas del libro. Entre otras cosas, mencionó la magnitud del autoabastecimiento, proporcionando una estimación de más de mil millones de personas que beben agua de fuentes a las que han accedido o mejorado ellos mismos (sin incluir a las personas que invierten como grupos/cooperativas). El hecho de que esta cifra sea sólo una estimación aproximada es otro recordatorio de lo mucho que se ha pasado por alto el autoabastecimiento en las últimas décadas, al menos entre los donantes, las ONG internacionales, el mundo académico y la mayoría de las demás partes interesadas en el sector. Después de siglos (o milenios) en los que la gente se ha abastecido de agua por sus propios medios (=autoabastecimiento), éste es el primer libro dedicado al tema, y el evento fue una oportunidad para llamar más la atención sobre él.

Comentarios de expertos del sector del agua 

A continuación, Dr. John Butterworth (IRC) destacó ejemplos de autoabastecimiento en Zimbabue y Etiopía de los que fue testigo de primera mano, y cómo la falta de sistemas de apoyo al autoabastecimiento en muchos lugares limita el alcance y el nivel de servicio que la gente puede alcanzar mediante este mecanismo. A continuación, los autores de los estudios de caso de Tanzania y Escocia hicieron sus aportaciones, así como una serie de comentarios de expertos de todo el mundo. Nos gustaría destacar algunos de los comentarios de estos expertos (las citas de los expertos en inglés han sido traducidas al español por nosotros).

Matt Bower, Jefe del equipo de operaciones del organismo regulador de la calidad del agua potable en Escocia
Azzika Tanko Yussif, Senior Policy Advisor – AMCOW (Consejo de Ministros Africanos del Agua)
Patrick Moriarty, Director General del IRC
Louisa Gosling, Presidenta de la Red de Abastecimiento de Agua en Zonas Rurales (RWSN) y Senior Manager – Responsabilidad y Derechos, WaterAid
Didier Allely, Miembro del equipo GLAAS/OMS

Los comentarios fueron seguidos por una sesión de open mic, en la que los participantes sacaron a relucir cuestiones como el acceso universal, la calidad del agua (y la importancia de la proximidad del agua), y los múltiples fines para los que se utiliza el agua cuando está disponible in situ. El evento concluyó con un gran agradecimiento a todos los participantes y con muchas felicitaciones a los autores por este hito.

Grabación y recursos adicionales

Si no tuviste la oportunidad de seguir el evento completo, o si quieres acceder a recursos adicionales relacionados con el libro, haz clic en los siguientes enlaces (disponible sólo en inglés) :

  • Enlace para descargar (gratuitamente) o comprar el libro (librería Practical Action)
  • Notas informativas sobre el libro (RWSN, 4 u 8 páginas)
  • Grabación del evento de presentación virtual del libro

Los organizadores del evento y los autores del libro agradecen al IRC por permiti que la versión en línea sea de descarga gratuita y que haya sufragado los costes de producción. Las personas interesadas en adquirir el libro al por mayor, o en utilizarlo con fines didácticos, pueden ponerse en contacto con John Butterworth.

Mantener el impulso

Este evento marcó un hito en la historia del Autoabastecimiento. Habiendo sido creado como un Tema de la RWSN hace más de 15 años, ahora observamos que (lentamente) el tema está atrayendo más interés y esperamos que este proceso siga ganando impulso en los próximos meses y años. Más de mil millones de personas dependen del autoabastecimiento como mecanismo principal para acceder al agua, y es evidente que es necesario apoyar a estas personas para que suban la escalera de los niveles de servicio, ya sea mejorando su suministro de agua privada o accediendo al agua por otros mecanismos, incluidas las redes de agua corriente.

Figura 2 Entorno de apoyo al autoabastecimiento

Lancement virtuel du livre : Auto-approvisionnement – combler les lacunes de l’approvisionnement public en eau

Ce blog a été rédigé par la Dre Sally Sutton, le Dr John Butterworth et Matthias Saladin. Il donne un aperçu du lancement virtuel du livre “Self-supply – filling the gaps in public water supply provision”, qui a eu lieu le 25 mars.

Image 1 Les sources d’eau sur place sont utilisées à de nombreuses fins. Avoir son propre puits tend à améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et les revenus, entre autres.

Le premier livre consacré à l’auto-approvisionnement

L’événement a débuté par une présentation de l’auteure principale, la Dre Sally Sutton, qui a donné de brefs coups de projecteur sur certains éléments spécifiques du livre. Elle a notamment évoqué l’ampleur de l’auto-approvisionnement, estimant à plus d’un milliard le nombre de personnes qui boivent de l’eau à partir de sources auxquelles elles ont accédé ou qu’elles ont améliorées elles-mêmes (sans compter les personnes qui investissent en tant que groupes/coopératives). Le fait que ce chiffre ne soit qu’une estimation approximative rappelle à quel point l’auto-approvisionnement a été négligé au cours des dernières décennies, du moins parmi les bailleurs de fonds, les ONGs internationales, le monde universitaire et la plupart des autres acteurs du secteur. Après des siècles (ou des millénaires) de personnes fournissant de l’eau par leurs propres moyens (= auto-approvisionnement), il s’agit du premier livre consacré à ce sujet, et l’événement de lancement du livre était une excellente occasion d’attirer davantage l’attention sur ce sujet.

Commentaires des expert-e-s du secteur de l’eau 

Dr. John Butterworth (IRC) a ensuite mis en évidence des exemples d’auto-approvisionnement au Zimbabwe et en Ethiopie dont il a été le témoin direct, et comment le manque de systèmes de soutien à l’auto-approvisionnement dans de nombreux endroits limite l’étendue et le niveau de service que les gens peuvent atteindre par ce mécanisme. Ont suivi les contributions des auteurs des études de cas en Tanzanie et en Ecosse, et une série de commentaires d’experts du monde entier. Nous aimerions mettre en lumière certains des commentaires de ces experts (les citations des expert-e-s en anglais ont été traduites en français par nos soins).

Matt Bower, Chef d’équipe des opérations à l’organisme de réglementation de la qualité de l’eau potable en Écosse.
Azzika Tanko Yussif, Senior Policy Advisor – AMCOW (Conseil des ministres africains de l’eau)
Patrick Moriarty, Directeur général – IRC
Louisa Gosling, Présidente du Réseau d’approvisionnement en eau en milieu rural (RWSN) et Senior manage – responsabilité et droits, WaterAid.
Didier Allely, Membre de l’équipe GLAAS/OMS

Les commentaires ont été suivis d’une session open mic, où les participants ont soulevé des questions telles que l’accès universel, la qualité de l’eau (et l’importance de la proximité de l’eau), et les multiples usages de l’eau lorsqu’elle est disponible sur place. L’événement s’est conclu par un grand merci à toutes les personnes impliquées et par de nombreuses félicitations aux auteur-e-s pour cette réalisation importante.

Enregistrement et ressources supplémentaires

Si vous n’avez pas eu l’occasion de suivre l’événement dans son intégralité, ou si vous souhaitez accéder à des ressources supplémentaires liées au livre, cliquez sur les liens ci-dessous (disponible en anglais uniquement):

  • Lien pour télécharger (gratuitement) ou acheter le livre (Practical Action bookstore)
  • Briefings sur le livre (RWSN, 4 ou 8 pages)
  • Enregistrement de l’événement de lancement virtuel du livre

Les organisateurs de l’événement et les auteur-e-s du livre tiennent à remercier l’IRC d’avoir rendu la version téléchargeable en ligne gratuite et d’avoir pris en charge les coûts de production. Les personnes intéressées par l’achat en gros du livre, ou par son utilisation à des fins d’enseignement, sont priées de contacter John Butterworth.

Maintenir la dynamique amorcée

Cet événement a marqué un moment fort dans l’histoire de l’auto-approvisionnement. Après avoir été créé en tant que thème au sein de RWSN il y a plus de 15 ans, nous constatons aujourd’hui que le sujet suscite (lentement) de plus en plus d’intérêt et nous nous attendons à ce que ce processus continue à prendre de l’ampleur au cours des prochains mois et années. Plus d’un milliard de personnes dépendent de l’auto-approvisionnement comme principal mécanisme d’accès à l’eau, et il est nécessaire d’aider ces personnes à gravir l’échelle des niveaux de service – que ce soit en améliorant davantage leur source d’eau privée ou en accédant à l’eau par d’autres mécanismes, y compris les réseaux d’eau courante.

Image 2 Environnement favorable à l’auto-approvisionnement

Virtual launch of the book “Self-supply – filling the gaps in public water supply provision”

This is a blog by Dr Sally Sutton, Dr John Butterworth, and Matthias Saladin. It gives an overview of the virtual launch of the book “Self-supply – filling the gaps in public water supply provision”, which took place on March 25.

Figure 1 On-site water sources are used for many purposes.
Having your own well tends to improve food security and income,
among other benefits.

The first book dedicated to self-supply

The event started with a presentation by the main author, Dr. Sally Sutton, shining short spotlights on specific issues of the book. Among others, she mentioned the scale of self-supply, providing an estimate of more than one billion people drinking water from sources they have accessed or upgraded themselves (not including people investing as groups/cooperatives). Many more share these sources as their main drinking water source and for other purposes as well. The fact that this number is only a rough estimate is another reminder on just how much self-supply has been overlooked over the past decades, at least among donors, international NGOs, academia and most other stakeholders in the sector. After centuries (or millennia) of people providing water by their own means (=self-supply), this is the first book dedicated to the subject, and the event was a great opportunity to draw more attention to it.

Comments from experts of the water sector  

Dr. John Butterworth (IRC) then highlighted examples of self-supply in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia he witnessed first-hand, and how the lack of support systems to self-supply in many places limits the extent and service level people can reach through this mechanism. This was followed by inputs from the authors of the case-studies in Tanzania and in Scotland, and by a series of comments from experts from around the world. We would like to highlight some of the comments made by these experts.

Matt Bower, Operations Team Leader at Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland
Azzika Tanko Yussif, Senior Policy Advisor – AMCOW (African Ministers’ Council on Water)
Patrick Moriarty, Chief Executive Officer – IRC
Louisa Gosling, Chair of the Rural Water Supply Network & Senior Manager – Accountability & Rights, WaterAid
Didier Allely, Member of the GLAAS/ WHO team

The comments were followed by an open-mic session, where participants brought up issues such as universal access, water quality (and the importance of proximity of water for that matter), and the multiple purposes water is used when available on premises. The event concluded with a big thank you to everyone involved, and with many congratulations to the authors on this milestone achievement.

Recording and additional resources 

If you did not have the opportunity to follow the full event, or if you would like to access additional resources related to the book, click on the links below:

  • Link to download (for free) or purchase the book (Practical Action bookstore)
  • Briefings on the book (RWSN, 4 or 8 pages)
  • Recording of the virtual launch event of the book

The organizers of the event and the authors of the book would like to thank IRC for making the online version free to download, and to pay for the production costs. People who are interested to purchase the book in bulk, or to use it for teaching purposes, please contact John Butterworth.

Keep up the momentum 

This event marked a highlight in the history of Self-supply. Having been created as a Theme within RWSN more than 15 years ago, we now observe that (slowly) the topic is attracting more interest and we expect that this process will continue to gain momentum over the next months and years. More than one billion people rely on Self-supply as primary mechanism to access water, and there clearly is a need to support these people to climb the ladder of service levels – be it by upgrading their private water source further or by accessing water by other mechanisms, including piped water networks.

Figure 2 Supportive environment for self-supply

Stop the rot – action research on handpump quality in sub-Saharan Africa

Premature corrosion and failure of water supply hardware, particularly handpumps, is widespread in countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, but evidence is limited and largely anecdotal. If drillers are not assured of quality handpumps in country, how can they install pumps that provide water users with the services that they deserve? For the tens of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa who depend on handpumps to meet their daily water needs, handpump failures threaten their health and livelihoods. 

In cases where communities receive a handpump or components of substandard quality, parts may rapidly wear. If components of the wrong material or inadequate quality are installed in aggressive groundwater, the water supply may not function properly or can fail. Alternatively, the water may not be suitable for drinking. If the handpumps fails, or if water is turbid, discoloured, or has a metallic taste, users may return to using distant or unsafe water sources. If handpump components wear prematurely, communities can incur unnecessary costs in trying to fix the problem. 

A new initiative by Skat Foundation and Ask for Water GmbH under the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) strives to find ways to ensure that handpump technologies and spare parts that are installed for drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa are consistently of high quality and can last.

The initiative runs up to March 2022 and will:

  • Document the scale and extent of the problem of handpump corrosion and poor-quality components in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Understand the handpump supply chains for one country, analysing strengths and weaknesses.
  • Raise awareness of problems of handpump corrosion, poor-quality components alongside practical solutions for water users, drillers, governments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and others.
  • Catalyse action through ongoing engagement of international organisations, national governments, research organisations and other stakeholders to catalyse actions to tackle the problem.

The initiative will examine corrosion (see box), quality assurance procedures and supply chains. It seeks to draw out successful or innovative ways of ensuring that users benefit good quality handpumps – consistently! If you would like to contribute to the initiative, especially by sharing your experiences and ideas, please contact Dr Kerstin Danert (ask @ ask-for-water.ch).

Box: Corrosion and handpump quality challenges

The twin challenges of how to ensure the quality of handpumps and how to prevent rapid corrosion of certain pump components have been discussed for over four decades. Corrosion of below-ground handpump components was documented in the 1980s. Research concluded that galvanisation of pump riser pipes and pump rods does not prevent corrosion where the pH < 6.5 and provides limited protection for pH 6.5 to 7. In light of this, programmes have switched riser pipes and pump rods to stainless steel or switched to uPVC riser pipes and stainless-steel pump rods, while some countries standardised on pumps which aims to be fully corrosion resistant by using a uPVC rising main and stainless steel, or fibre glass pump rods. Unfortunately, handpump corrosion problems and concerns over handpump component quality persist. The extent of the problem is not fully known because of relatively little research on this topic, coupled with a lack of information available in the public domain. 
This article first appeared in GeoDrilling International (March 2021)

NEW! Rural Water 2021 + RWSN Blue Pages / Pages Bleues

We are delighted that announce the launch today of “Rural Water 2021” and the “RWSN Blue Pages / Pages Bleues”, which you can download now from the RWSN website: https://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/944

Continue reading “NEW! Rural Water 2021 + RWSN Blue Pages / Pages Bleues”

La planification, l’acquisition de marché et la gestion des forages: un référentiel de l’UNICEF est maintenant publier en français !

La planification, l’acquisition de marché et la gestion des forages: un référentiel de l’UNICEF 

est maintenant publier en français !

Cet outil guide le personnel de l’UNICEF chargé des programmes et des ressources tout au long du cycle de vie d’un projet. Il suit une séquence logique sur les pratiques d’achat de l’UNICEF et formule des recommandations sur les processus (appel d’offres ou demande de proposition de services), les critères d’évaluation, les clauses contractuelles, les devis génériques, les termes de référence et les approches contractuelles visant à des services techniques pour déterminer l’emplacement et la construction de forages et la supervision de travaux de construction (français et Anglais).

Borehole Drilling – Planning, Contracting & Management: A UNICEF Toolkit is now also available in French!

This toolkit guides UNICEF programme and supply staff through the life of a project. It follows a logical sequence on UNICEF procurement practices and provides recommendations on processes, evaluation criteria, contract provisions, generic bill of quantities, terms of reference and contractual approaches to seek technical services for siting of boreholes, borehole construction and supervision of construction works (English – French).

My experience of the RWSN Mentoring Programme

This is a guest blog by Amanda Mugwambi, a young professional from Zimbabwe enrolled as a mentee in the 2020 RWSN Mentoring Programme.

I’m Amanda Mugwambi from Zimbabwe. I have been working in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector for over 5 years in addition to four years prior of environmental management. I am currently working as a Public Health Promoter for an international NGO. I have had the opportunity to work in both urban and rural projects. It has been fulfilling to see community transformation through donor funding complimenting stakeholder efforts and community engagement.

I heard about the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) mentoring programme through my country’s WASH National Coordination Unit. I was interested in the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills to advance my career and to hear about experiences in other countries. I must admit, I had a bit of trouble in the application process where I had to outline my expectations from being part of the programme. I just didn’t seem to be able to mainstream my thoughts. I wanted to know more about everything! When I finally managed to submit my application, I was anxious to find out who my mentor would be. I hoped they would be able to provide the right balance of academic and professional development.  I was matched with Susana Sandoz, a WASH specialist, currently a consultant with UNICEF. RWSN really did an excellent job pairing us! Not only is Susana a seasoned expert but her experience with UNICEF which funds some of the projects I have been working on gave me an extra understanding.

We began the mentorship process with Susana helping me gather my thoughts by streamlining topics that we would like to discuss over the duration of the programme. We communicated via email, whatsapp and skype. We had our first session in April 2020 via skype. To be honest, it was so easy talking to her. I didn’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing. We met online once a week on skype, then we’d decide on the topic for the following week. Susana would send me literature to review so that I could note down any questions for our next meeting. My favorite part of our sessions was when Susana would tell about her experiences in the different countries she had worked in, some of them were very applicable to Zimbabwe. It was relatable and gave me an insight on how to find solutions to the challenges I faced.

I have a keen interest in School WASH. I particularly liked the sessions on hygiene promotion, menstrual hygiene management, handwashing, child protection, emergency management, disaster risk reduction especially considering the Covid-19 pandemic. I have learnt the importance of using emotional triggers to reinforce positive behavior change such as effective handwashing. And I have also learnt more about community engagement to ensure the success of water and sanitation projects. It is crucial to trigger community members early for them to realize the importance of zero open defecation and the safe water chain to improve their health and hygiene. Below is the list of all the topics we discussed:

DateSession#Topic
15 Apr1COVID 19, Handwashing
22 Apr2Sanitation and Sato Pans
29 Apr3Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)
6 May4Disability and Inclusion
13 May5Monitoring & Evaluation; Communication for Disasters
20 May6Latrine types: advantages and disadvantages
3 June7Sustainability
10 June8Development and Environmental Issues
15 June9Communication for development (C4D)
24 June10Social Norms changes
14 July11Emergencies in WASH
21 July12Water Quality and Water Treatment
28 July13Why is Sanitation Important and Advocating for Sanitation
5 Aug14The Burden of COVID-19
13 Aug15Advocacy
21 Aug16Gender
25 Aug17Child Protection
3 Sep18Climate Change
8 Sep19Skills for Interviews
15 Sep20Hygiene Promotion
29 Sep21Capacity Building
6 Oct22WASH in Schools and COVID-19 Reduction
13 Oct23Types of Rural Water Supply Systems
20 Oct24Pollution Analysis of Water Supply Systems
27 Oct25Pollution Analysis of Water Supply Systems
11 Nov26Urban and Rural Characteristics and Different Approaches in WASH
17 Nov27Urban and Rural Characteristics and Different Approaches in WASH
23 Nov28General Climate Change Summary
7 Dec29How to obtain an Enabling Environment
15 Dec30Income Generating Activities, General Advice for Latrine Building Questions on topics previously discussed

I appreciate the opportunity to be part of the RWSN mentorship. A special thanks to Susana, I really enjoyed the sessions, always informative and flexible. We also developed a friendship over the months which was pleasant and has improved our mental health during the pandemic. In our case we have agreed to continue checking up on each other at least once a month. I encourage young professionals to join the RWSN network as it’s a platform for continuous learning and for personal and professional development.

About the author

Amanda Mugwambi holds an MSc in Disaster Management and a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Science and Technology (NUST) Zimbabwe. Her interests range from WASH, climate change adaptation and Disaster Management.

About the RWSN Mentoring Programme

For more information on the RWSN Mentoring Programme, see here. RWSN thanks the Swiss Development Cooperation and World Vision for their support to the mentoring programme in 2020.

Coming soon: USAID Pro-WASH webinar series on Operation & Maintenance

Join PRO-WASH for a new webinar series focused on operation and maintenance of WASH infrastructure!

This four-part series will share lessons learned from USAID partners focusing on innovative advances in approaches to operation and maintenance (O&M) of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure. Speakers will discuss their program’s approaches to engineering, environmental, financial, and political-economy challenges, and aim to draw out important lessons that are more widely applicable. During this webinar series, attendees will learn more about:

Continue reading “Coming soon: USAID Pro-WASH webinar series on Operation & Maintenance”