RWSN updates February 2022 and upcoming events

Dear RWSN members

We hope you all had a great start to 2022. The year is already going in full swing, and we would like to share some RWSN updates and upcoming events with you. 

My name is Tommy Ka Kit Ngai and I am the Head of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene at WaterAid UK. At the RWSN Executive Steering Committee on 27 January, I was honoured to accept the role of RWSN Chair for the remainder of WaterAid’s tenure. I have been a RWSN member for about 10 years and have always been encouraged by the unwavering commitment of fellow RWSN members to collaborate and support each other in bringing sustainable and reliable water supplies to all rural people.  Collectively, we have a world-leading, immense pool of knowledge and experience in rural WASH.  I am thrilled to be here. I look forward to learning from and working alongside with all of you.   

Thank you, Louisa Gosling and SDC 

  • It is with much sadness that Louisa Gosling stepped down as Chair of RWSN due to health issues as of December 2021. We thank her so much for her great leadership and passion for the network, and in particular, she worked tirelessly with the Leave no One Behind theme and has been a great advocate of RWSN over the last ten years. We wish her strength and good health in her next chapter. 
  • The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has supported this network since the beginning when we were founded as the Handpump Technology Network in 1992. Thanks to their steadfast partnership, RWSN has grown from a mailing list of a few dozen engineers to a diverse, global network of nearly 14,000 individuals and more than a hundred organisations in 167 countries. The RWSN Strategy, Roadmap and ongoing governance review are setting the network on an exciting new path and we will share more details in future updates. SDC’s strategic orientation is shifting and with it our modality of collaboration. We thank the SDC Global Programme Water for providing exceptional support over the last 30 years, and to Dr Daniel Maselli in particular who has been a great ally and guide over the last few years. Switzerland remains committed to improving global water security and we look forward to continuing our partnership in new ways. 

 
Welcome to Ndeye Awa Diagne, Dr. Amita Bhakta, WHO and USAID – and “Data for Action” 

  • Ms Ndeye Awa Diagne (“Awa”) has joined the RWSN executive committee. Awa is a Water and Sanitation Specialist at the World Bank in Washington DC, with 10 years experience, including 6 with the World Bank and 2 at the Société Nationale des Eaux du Sénégal. Her current responsibilities include managing the Bank’s internal community of practice on rural WASH. Linkedin  
  • New Leave No One Behind (LNOB) theme co-lead Dr. Amita Bhakta. Amita is a Freelance Consultant in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); Website: Amita Bhakta – Hidden WASHLinkedIn   
  • Welcome to our new RWSN project partners, USAID, who are funding REAL-Water, a five year research programme on rural water headed by Aquaya Institute with KNUST Ghana, ATREESafe Water NetworkAguaconsult and Water Mission
  • We are delighted to be collaborating with WHO as they prepare to finalise and publish “Guidelines For Small Drinking-Water Supplies: Policy Guidance And Supporting Tools”. Look out for more updates later in the year! 
  • Finally, the RWSN Theme “Monitoring and Mapping” will be changing its name to  “Data for Action”; the change will be effective over the course of this year. 

    Upcoming events 
  • On 22nd March we celebrate World Water Day. This year the theme is “Groundwater: making the invisible, visible”. You can take part in the celebration and raise awareness on groundwater by checking the website: https://www.worldwaterday.org/. There are many materials available for download to share with your community and networks, raising awareness on groundwater. RWSN also has a wealth of resources related to Groundwater, see below. 
  • 9th World Water Forum, Dakar – RWSN is delighted to be hosting French/English Session 2A4 on Rural Water Supply Management Models in Room 3 at 9am on 22 March. For those coming to the Dakar, we look forward to welcoming you to this great session, with interesting case studies from Morocco, Madagascar, Senegal, Ghana and Uptime and panellists including the Director General of Water from the Government of Spain. https://www.worldwaterforum.org/  
     

    RWSN resources related to Groundwater 
  • Does your organisation drill boreholes, or perhaps fund others to drill?  If so, check out the wealth of materials on borehole drilling on the RWSN website: https://tinyurl.com/waterdrilling 
  • Do you want a quick, and easy introduction to borehole siting, supervision, procurement and drilling itself?  If so, then watch these very short animated films (available in English and French): https://vimeo.com/channels/drilling 
  • Want to know about how to unlock the potential of groundwater in Africa, then check out this short film: https://vimeo.com/582160363 
  • Are you looking for ways to support access to groundwater at a low cost? Then you should find out if manual drilling is an option? This is a good place to start: https://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/sustainable-groundwater-management/manual-drilling 
  • Want to learn about professional drilling from other RWSN members and partners? There is an archive of presentations and webinars available here: https://vimeo.com/channels/1432819 
  • Do you have questions or concerns about using solar-powered water systems to pump groundwater? This is a good place to start: https://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/sustainable-groundwater-management/solar  

     

    New Groundwater Publications from RWSN and in collaboration with others 

    Dr Kerstin Danert, co-lead of Sustainable Groundwater Development Theme has been extremely busy over the last year and involved in lead and co-author roles on several key publications that will be published over the next month:  

Best regards,

RWSN Chair and secretariat

New from WaterAid: Piped water supply services: strengthening management models in rural and small town contexts

Re-blogged from WaterAid

Many governments have set ambitious targets for reaching people with piped water services. Providing water taps in people’s homes is one way of achieving safely managed access in line with the Sustainable Development Goal for water. But installing more household taps must come with stronger efforts to professionalise service management, ensure adequate levels of support, and that services are inclusive. Without paying sufficient attention to these and other aspects, there is a risk that piped water supply services will under-perform in low income areas, resulting in poor service levels and lost investment. There are, of course, alternatives to tapped water supplies, and these should be considered where a piped service is not viable.

This publication is the second in a series focused on management models for piped water services in rural and small town settings. The first publication, Management models for piped water services, set out the factors that affect the sustainability of piped water, presenting ten different management models. This publication is a decision-making resource and is designed to help practitioners select or strengthen management arrangements for piped water supplies in different contexts. It compares the viability of the ten management models against the following four variables:

  • Commercial viability and economies of scale
  • Technical complexity, connectedness and local capacity 
  • Sector policy, legislation and financing arrangements
  • Regulation and accountability mechanisms, local preferences, and ensuring inclusive services for all

Top image: Nawoli Jesca, 25, commercial officer, and Nkundizana Julius, 25, team leader of the Busolwe Piped Water Supply System check on a pipe to the main water reservoir in Butaleja District, Uganda, November 2018. 

Download

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).

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”

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”

RWSN opportunity: part-time moderator for RWSN discussion platforms

Skat Foundation is looking for a part-time co-moderator of the RWSN online platforms from the Global South. The post will be a consultancy or paid Internship position in the RWSN Secretariat. If your application is successful you will receive a contract up to 31 July 2021 (containing about 1-2 days per week) which could be extended until the end of this year and beyond if performance is good.

Application deadline: 13:00 GMT 24 February 2021

Online Application form

Skat Foundation is looking for a part-time co-moderator of the RWSN online platforms from the Global South. The post will be a consultancy or paid Internship position in the RWSN Secretariat. If your application is successful you will receive a contract up to 31 July 2021 (containing about 1-2 days per week) which could be extended until the end of this year and beyond if performance is good.

Continue reading “RWSN opportunity: part-time moderator for RWSN discussion platforms”

Remembering Paul van Beers (19 April 1950 – 19 April 2020)

“Always eccentric, often controversial; always authentic, often misunderstood; Paul was never boring. He enjoyed challenging the status quo and stirring things up.”

by Dr Peter Harvey, Chief – Water, Sanitation & Education Centre, UNICEF Supply Division

When I first met Paul twenty-odd years ago at a WEDC Conference, he was (surprise, surprise!) talking about handpumps. I was immediately captivated by his passion and imagination.

Always eccentric, often controversial; always authentic, often misunderstood; Paul was never boring. He enjoyed challenging the status quo and stirring things up. He sometimes upset people by his exaggerations (e.g. the ‘spare parts free handpump’) and his repeated promotion of everything ‘blue’ but none of this was in the interest of ego or self-gain. He was passionately committed to improving the well-being of those living in the poorest communities in rural Africa, and he was convinced the water sector could do so much better.

He believed passionately that handpumps should not breakdown often and that the prevailing statistic of one-third of non-operational pumps in sub-Saharan Africa was unacceptable. He was frustrated by the apparent insanity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. He recently quoted the car manufacturer Henry Ford, who said that if he had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses, highlighting how people tend to stick to what they know. He believed in the power of innovation and that no one should have to make do with inferior products or services.

A professional hydrogeologist, Paul’s passion was rural water supply. He lived and worked for extensive periods in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mozambique, Angola and Kenya, before returning to the Netherlands to set up the FairWater Foundation https://www.fairwater.org/. Despite his scientific training, he was, in many ways, an engineer at heart.  He loved technology and the intricacies of engineering design. Among his numerous inventions were the Kisii Water Filter, the Afripump, the Water Donkey, the Beers Piston, Handpump Leasing, the Ribbon-and-Bead Pump (an improved version of the rope pump), and, of course, the Blue Pump and Blue Zones.

On one memorable occasion he jumped onto the table in a Nairobi bar and sat on a small plastic stool with a hole cut in it. “Look, the EasyShit!” he announced. That particular sanitation invention didn’t take off but actually made a lot of sense for the old and infirm. I had the pleasure of meeting him on many occasions to put the world to rights and ‘imagineer’ all sorts of solutions from bizarre soap alternatives to a submersible pump design based on the capillary action of plants (that one didn’t take off either!).

He was never afraid to have a daft idea. It would be much worse to have none at all. When he was diagnosed with cancer, Paul remained as positive as ever. Even when his leg was amputated in 2015, he was more focused on tinkering to make improvements to his prosthetic leg than feeling sorry for himself. His mobility was affected, but not his passion, nor his ability to post controversial contributions to the RWSN D-group!

I spoke to him shortly before his death and he told me of how his own story evolved. When he first worked in Africa 35 years ago, he would see a broken handpump and think ‘that’s a shame, a broken pump’. It took him many years to look at a broken pump and see the bigger picture behind it of suffering, dependency, self-interest and corruption. He was frustrated that many charitable endeavours were more focused on giving money to feel good than to do actual good.

His was a call for us to wake up and connect the dots: to look beyond technology, to the systems and behaviours that create dependency; to not be afraid to discard them and develop new blueprints for truly sustainable water services. He didn’t have all the answers, but he certainly provided some, and he never gave up searching for more.

The day before he passed away, he sent me a message: “We live and learn, a fascinating growing process, essential in life… Maybe that is why I hate so much if things do not develop, it is directly opposing the roots of life; innovation should always be there!”

Paul brought much colour to my life, as well as the many, many people in the communities he served over decades. I will miss him greatly and I am privileged to have called him a friend.

He was a keen flyer and had many tales of bush flying in Africa; I like to think he is now soaring high above us through the ‘blue zone’.

Pete Harvey

P.S. For those of you who may be interested, in future the Bluepump will continue to be manufactured and promoted on a non-profit basis by Join the Pipe https://join-the-pipe.org/eng/, the first social network of tap-water drinkers.

Photo: Paul at home in Amsterdam, 2018 (P. Harvey)

In Memoriam: Mansoor Ali

Mansoor Ali, an active early member of the Hanpump Technology Network (HTN), recently passed on.

Main Photo: 5 June, 2003: HTN Meeting at Durban – Vishwas, Raj, Mansoor (R K Daw)

by Raj Kumar Daw

Summer, 1973, Groundwater Surveys & Development Agency – GSDA, Pune had just been created and was acquiring its drilling rigs. The founding Director of GSDA, Dr. Venkataraman, constantly raided the NGOs for whatever he could get. He sent me word that he was coming to Vadala. I was trying my first attempt at rehabilitating an abandoned bore well adjacent to our workshop. The work had gone well. Dr. Venkataraman arrived, passing through Geological Investigation Team, Ahmednagar, headed at that time by Sarma Nidamarthy. Sarma had sent two of his staff with Dr. Venkataraman. Gautam and Mansoor.

That was the first time I met Mansoor.

Continue reading “In Memoriam: Mansoor Ali”

Opportunity to publish: handpumps in drinking water services

(photo: (C) Skat Consulting Ltd.)

Dear Colleagues,

It has recently been suggested that an up-to-date review of the issues around handpumps in drinking water services be undertaken.  This would be in the form of a book, which supersedes the documents published in the 1980s including Arlosoroff’s “Community water supply: the handpump option” and IRC’s Technical Papers 10 and 25. 

The new book would not be a direct update, since those documents were published in the UN Water Decade at a time of large-scale laboratory- and field-testing of handpumps and other initiatives which have not been matched in intensity since that time.  However there has been much experience and reflection as well as some research and evaluation in the intervening years which now needs to be brought together in one place. 

I envisage a book which places handpump services in the wider context of the SDGs, the human right to water, self-supply, community-based maintenance, financing considerations, emerging management models, and transitions from handpumped point water sources to (for example) solar pumped networked services.  The book would bring together in roughly equal measures natural sciences and engineering on one hand, with issues around management and financing, social aspects and institutional arrangements on the other. 

The book would be primarily addressed to organisations and individuals involved in planning, financing, implementing and supporting rural water programming – a readership which needs a broad but reasonably detailed overview of the subject.  The messages for policy-makers and higher-level decision-makers will need to be distilled from the book, in shorter form.  Likewise the book would not attempt to be a detailed technical document; indeed it is likely that only two chapters out of the 12 which will be included would focus on handpump technology per se.

Given the wide range of aspects to be covered, I envisage the need for a good deal of co-authorship and peer review.  A publisher has already shown keen interest, and I would be optimistic that funds could be raised to enable open access to the final publication. 

This message – the first on the matter – therefore invites your response to three questions: (1) do you think such a publication would be a useful contribution to current attempts to bring safe and sustainable drinking water services to all? (2) Would you like to be kept informed as to progress in the drafting of the book? (3) Would you be interested in participating as a co-author or peer-reviewer (if so, please send me a short statement outlining your area of interest and expertise). 

Finally, I am well aware that there are some strong opinions and loud voices in the community of those interested in handpumps; it will be part of my lead-author/editor role to try to present evidence-based and balanced analysis while minimising opinionated and biased views.  I am especially keen to find contributors and reviewers who are well-experienced in implementing handpump programmes but who are not vocal in the online discussion groups. 

I look forward to hearing from you by writing to my personal email address (below) with your initial answers to the questions above, and of course any other views you may have on the matter.

Assuming the idea meets with some approval from those of you who read the correspondence on this discussion group, I will put together a draft list of contents and start to identify potential co-authors and reviewers.  So please watch this space for further news!

Best wishes,

Richard Carter
richard ^at^ richard-carter.org
[www.richard-carter.org]