In Memoriam: Ken McLeod – India Mark II development lead

en McLeod, who died of cancer in Cairns, Australia, on January 23rd at the age of 88, was recruited by Unicef to support India’s village water supply programme from 1974-1978, and played a pivotal role in the development of the India MK II hand pump.

by Rupert Talbot (former UNICEF and past Chair of HTN/RWSN)

Remembering Ken

Ken McLeod, who died of cancer in Cairns, Australia, on January 23rd at the age of 88, was recruited by Unicef to support India’s village water supply programme from 1974-1978, and played a pivotal role in the development of the India MK II hand pump.

The Government of India’s fourth, five year development plan (1969-1974) envisaged the ambitious goal of providing drinking water in the hard rock, drought prone regions of the country, using innovative down-the-hole-hammer drilling and deep well hand pump technology. Drill rigs were to be imported by Unicef and locally made, cast iron hand pumps, supplied and maintained by Government. In 1974, at the end of the plan period, hand pump surveys concluded that 75% of some 40,000 installations were not working. The viability of drilling and hand pump technology was in question and there was the real prospect of UNICEF, the Government of India’s main partner, withdrawing support. The programme was in serious crisis.

Ken McLeod, his 1942 Jeep, and Myra who designed the first India MK II hand pump poster, New Delhi, 1976 (Photo: Rupert Talbot)

Water well drilling was virgin territory for Unicef in the early 1970s and Unicef’s Executive Board had been divided over the decision to invest in such costly technology in the first place. It was now faced with the hard option of either scrapping the programme or keeping faith. It was a close run thing. Fortunately, the ‘pro’ lobby won with the eminently wise decision to halt the supply of drill rigs until the hand pump problem was fixed. Which is where Ken McLeod comes in.

Ken was a pragmatic, no–nonsense, straight talking, tell-it-as-it-is Australian with a diverse engineering background which ranged from marine and civil engineering to blast hole and water well drilling with down-the-hole-hammers. He had an innate sense of what would probably work and what wouldn’t. Obstinacy was also a hallmark. A serious asset as it turned out. Once he had made up his mind it was difficult to persuade him otherwise. And he had a droll sense of humour. His repertoire of stories and anecdotes are legendary within the water well fraternity. It would seem that seriousness of purpose combined with good humour are prerequisites for successful development enterprises. Ken had both these qualities in spades.

Over the course of the next 4 years it fell to Ken to identify, coordinate, argue with and cajole, myriad organisations and individuals to develop what became known as the India MK II hand pump. This was an extraordinarily complex, collaborative venture, involving pioneering NGOs in Maharashtra, birth place of the fabricated steel Jalna, Jalvad and Sholapur pumps, spearheaded by Raj Kumar Daw and Oscar Carlson (names participants in the RWSN Sustainable Groundwater Development Forum will be familiar with); WHO, who were independently trying to develop their own cast iron ‘Bangalore Pump’; The Government of India, whose programme was in dire straits and who were being prevailed upon by the country-wide hand pump industry to continue with the supply of their cast iron products (‘junk pumps,’ in McLeod Speak); and an engineering enterprise, Richardson and Cruddas, a Government of India undertaking tasked with making prototype and then production pumps. It took a McLeod to handle all of that.

Ken McLeod, Arun Mudgal (Richardson and Cruddas) and Rupert Talbot, MK II test area, Coimbatore, 1975. A ‘what to do ?’ moment after experimental cylinders had failed. (Photo: Rupert Talbot)

It is getting on for 50 years since it was eventually agreed by all parties that the Sholapur pump would form the basis of a new design and we were able to make and test the first dozen prototypes under the deep water table conditions of Coimbatore, Southern India. The fact that the India MK II then went successfully into mass production was largely due to Ken’s clarity of vision, direction, smart technical choices and perseverence.

I spoke with Ken for the last time two weeks before he died. We talked of those heady days of trying to get the MK II programme off the ground, of the internal arguments, external battles and technical problem solving in the field and in the factory.

His voice was strong and his mind as clear as a bell as he recalled people, places and events in great detail and he spoke warmly of those free spirits with their out of the box thinking who strove to make better hand pumps.

He was amazed to learn that there are now several million MK IIs in India alone and that it is exported to 40 or more countries. But hugely disappointed that the third party quality assurance procedures set up in his day and honed over the years to become the corner stone of the MK II programme under Ken Gray, had been allowed to slide back and that MK II look-a-like ‘junk pumps’ are being exported from India to Africa. That, we agreed, is a great tragedy.

There were many brilliant, dedicated people involved in the development of the India MK II. Ken never claimed any credit for it himself, but we all know who led the charge. It wouldn’t have happened without him. He was the right man in the right place at the right time. It needed his force of personality, tough and uncompromising ways, solid understanding of technical issues and absolute determination to get the job done in the face of industrial strength, bureaucratic wranglings. Aussie grit personified.

After Unicef, Ken McLeod worked with Shaul Arlossoroff and his UNDP-World Bank Hand Pumps Project, initially based in Nairobi then out of Australia, spending much of his time in China where I have no doubt he brought the same skills and energy to bear as he did in India.

Pragmatic and stoic to the very end he told me he hadn’t got long and was resigned to being on the ‘home stretch’ as he called it.

No funeral for Ken. No grave, no head stone, no epitaph. He wanted none of that. Instead, he has the lasting legacy of the India Mark II hand pump itself. Millions of them in fact.

Kenneth Robert McLeod, 1932 – 2020

RIP

Rupert Talbot
RWSN
26/1/20

Rural water supply is changing. Be part of it.

The Rural Water Supply International Directory that is available to download from today aims to track the organizations and businesses fostering this change.

by Philip T. Deal, University of Oklahoma, USA

The Sustainable Development Goals are pushing the water and sanitation community to reach higher than ever before. After decades of fighting for the human right to water, universal coverage is the next, challenging summit to climb. “Access to an improved source” has been upgraded to “safely managed drinking water” – a standard that requires continuous service, good water quality, increasing coverage, and affordability. Considering that rural infrastructure often lags behind when compared with urban environments, accomplishing this standard can sometimes feel more like a cliff than a mountain. For these reasons, rural water supply requires new ideas – experimentation – innovation.

The 2019 RWSN directory of rural water supply services

The The 2019 RWSN directory of rural water supply services, tariffs, management models and lifecycle costs that is available to download (and in French) from today aims to track the organizations and businesses fostering this change. These entities are the catalysts to novel service delivery and management models. Some offer minor changes to technology or accountability mechanisms that increase functionality. Some create new financing opportunities that were not previously accessible. Some create a complex management system to maintain water systems over large geographical areas. Some could potentially fail. All are valuable.

The cases described in the Directory are meant to foster growth, learning, and inspiration. The successes, challenges, and failures depicted by one organization could spark a solution for another across the continent. Financing and life cycle cost discussions could become more transparent, uniform, and clear across borders. Networking opportunities and connections become easier – there may even be a neighboring WASH partner nearby that fits your needs!

This new Directory is intended to be an annual compilation. Current cases can be updated with new developments and research. Other innovations and businesses can be added. If a future reader thinks some other information should be included, there’s potential for expansion. We are open to your input.

Questions to Consider

When reviewing the cases within this directory, I would encourage any reader to think on the following questions:

  • What are some common management traits that you observe? What is similar or different when compared to traditional water and sanitation models?
  • What are the most striking innovations that can be observed?
  • What role does each case hold in their water and sanitation ecosystem? What are their responsibilities, and for what are they dependent upon others?
  • Which cases seem more conducive to scaling up?
  • What life cycle costs do various organizations consider their responsibility? What costs should realistically be expected to be covered by tariffs?
  • How would an organization react if international or support funding were reduced or lost? What would be the ramifications to the customers or beneficiaries?
  • What monitoring schemes seem to be effective in maintaining quality water services?
  • What information or data would you be interested in evaluating for these programs?

Bio – Philip T. Deal

At the end of 2015, I began my doctoral research on service delivery models at the University of Oklahoma. My first significant reference was, “Supporting Rural Water Supply”, by Lockwood and Smits (2011), which has often guided my thought process. Understanding how various management models can improve, disrupt, or maintain the status quo for water service has become a focus of my efforts. I want to know if each case is really sustainable, if there is measurable impact, and if equity is truly equal when applying these models.

Since I began, I have had the opportunity to investigate these types of questions in partnership with Water4 and Access Development in Ghana. You may notice this case was not yet included in the directory. This is because I have wanted to give excellent, data supported answers before I do. The team involved has been working diligently to measure and evaluate the level of service provided, the associated life cycle costs, and the effectiveness or their company. Keep an eye out in the next year for these results in multiple studies.

I would encourage all who would like to be a part of the directory in the future to do similar investigations. Challenge your assumptions and dig into the details. Determine what is working and what should be changed. Put resources into evaluating your organization. Then, be honest about it. It is not an easy or glorious task, but it keeps us accountable.

If you do not know where to start – RWSN is a great place to begin. Connect with experts, practitioners, and researchers that can provide excellent guidance. Sean Furey reached out for help on the Directory project in the fall of 2018 through a Dgroup discussion. Since agreeing to participate, I have had the opportunity to grow my knowledge base and network.  We hope this directory will offer the same opportunity to innovative and budding organizations across the world.

India pledges piped water to every rural home within 5 years

India is turning its back on the handpump and is going full bore for piped water supplies.

India is turning its back on the world’s most popular handpump to which it lent its name (India Mark II) and is going full bore for piped water supplies.

The Times of India report : “With more than 80% rural households yet to get piped water supply, the government on Tuesday announced to roll out a new mission to ensure “Nal se Jal”  ater from the tap) for each house in villages in the next five years as promised in BJP’s election manifesto.” 

This promises to be the most ambitious rural water supply programme in the world and this important transition from point source to piped will be watched with interest by many other countries around the world.

You can read more here:

An Empowering Drop in the Bucket – A women’s journey on International Women’s Day

Author: Sara Ahrari, Programme Manager at Simavi. 

March marks two significant internationally celebrated days for those of us working in the sector. On 8th March we celebrate International Women’s Day #IWD and on 21st March we cherish the World Water Day #WWD. So, it would be good to reflect once again on how exactly WASH is critical to the health and empowerment of women and girls throughout their life.

Let us imagine that you are a girl born to a economically challenged family in a village in the so called developing world where you and your family do not have access to safe water and sanitation.

If you are lucky enough to survive the first 5 years of your life and not die from diarrhoea or other water-borne diseases, the chances are very high that you are already walking a few hours per day to fetch water for your family and you are taking care of your younger siblings.

Then when the time comes for you to go to school, if your family does not have to prioritise your brothers’ education to yours, and if there is a school to attend, you may actually enrol at one. The chances are still very high that you have to walk a good half an hour to fetch water before going to school and answer the call of nature in the open since your school does not have any (functional) toilet. You probably get harassed and experience gender based violence during these visits.Slide6.JPG

Then sometimes when you are between 9 to 12 years old, one day you feel a lot of pain in your lower tummy and suddenly feel that you have wet yourselves. Embarrassed to death, when you finally can find a private corner, you notice the blood in your underwear and think you are going to die. Terrified you tell your older sister or friend and if you can overcome the shame, maybe you tell even your mother, only to learn that although you will not die, you will be going through this pain and embarrassment every month for what seems to be the rest of your life. You will be given a cloth or two, to manage your period. Of course, finding water to wash them and a private place to properly dry them would still be a challenge. You miss school either because you have a lot of pain, which you don’t know how to manage, or you or your family don’t want to risk getting embarrassed because of the blood on your clothes, or simply because there is no toilet or water at school where you can change your cloth or pads! Even in some countries, you might also end up staying in a shed during your period since you will be considered unclean!

Getting your period, is also considered start of your womanhood, and your family might start thinking that it is about time to marry you off, either to reduce the costs or to avoid that you start misbehaving or simply because that’s how it works. Of course you would not get any education about your reproductive system, nor for instance how to avoid unwanted pregnancies. If you are not married off, you will be told to avoid the boys!

By the time that you are 15 years old, the chances are very high that you are pregnant. If you are married and pregnant, you need the permission and money from your husband or his family to go for your check-ups. Mind you, you probably need to bring your own water in a bucket to the health centre, which you have to walk quite a distance to get to. And mind you, when you are pregnant, you need to use the washroom more often, but of course there is no toilet in public places or even health centres. By the way, your family might think that these visits don’t worth the trouble and you are better off with a traditional birth attendant, who usually does not have any hygienic place to do the check-ups nor have water to wash her hands with, even when you are delivering your baby!

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And, if you are not married and pregnant, you can forget about going to the health center since the staff will not even talk to you. You probably end up with a traditional birth attendant who wouldn’t mind performing illegal abortion, and again have not washed her hands, when she puts them inside you or uses other terrifying unclean objects to perform an abortion. As you can guess, the chances that you actually survive this one, is very low.

Anyway, throughout your reproductive age, you probably would be pregnant pretty much every year. Of course you would not be able to get the rest or support you need during this time and have to still do most of the unpaid work around the house, without anyone recognising or appreciating it.

You may at some point in life also start doing some paid work to support your family. However, whenever someone at household gets sick or you have your period, you probably have to miss going to work and thereby your income. Talking about income, you are the one who would prioritise investing it in sanitation, whereas for your husband it comes as his 8th or 9th priority, but unfortunately it is often not you who decides what happens with your income, so still no toilet for your family.

When you lose your husband or your father, you probably will not inherit anything from them and all the assets would go to male member of your family. Often if you don’t have sons, or even when you do have them, this means that you need to rely on their mercy for food and shelter.

All these situations can get worse if you are living with any type of disability, or HIV/AIDS, or in places where there is too much or too little water, or if you are from a minority or displaced group.

Yet, generation after generation you have been the source of inspiration and driver of change within your family, community and throughout the world and your resilience and agency has brought the mankind where we are today.

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And of course, while WASH programmes alone cannot tackle underlying causes of the barriers women and girls face through their life cycle, by fulfilling women and girls basic needs for access to water and sanitation, they can be the first step in the right direction. On the other hand, WASH programmes when designed and implemented in a gender responsive and transformative way can provide the opportunity to move beyond this and also address women and girls’ strategic needs, such as participation in decision-making processes within their family and communities and thereby contributing to their physical, political, socio-cultural and economic empowerment.

The article is inspired by a panel discussion with Sara Ahrari convened by WaterAid Canada, UNICEF and RESULTS Canada during International Development Week 2019 in Ottawa.

 

The Top 10 RWSN Blog Posts in 2018

The RWSN Blog provided us again with some exciting posts in 2018. From sustainable water resources and community management, to solar-powered water pumping, to (manual) borehole drilling, and to rural water services – the range of topics offers diverse and insightful perspectives on rural water supply issues.

Here are some of the most popular blogs in 2018:

  1. Sustainable water resources management in Sri Lanka: present situation and way forward
  2. Three common myths about solar-powered water pumping
  3. “The borehole is not a madman” 3 reasons why Community Based Management demands a rethink
  4. Manually Drilled Wells: Providing water in Nigeria’s Megacity of Lagos and beyond
  5. Borehole drilling supervision in Malawi: why it is essential, not optional
  6. For rural Tanzanians, water has a social value too
  7. Tracing a path to sustainable rural water services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  8. Still barking up the wrong tree? Community management: more problem than solution
  9. Sharing experiences of data flows in water and sanitation – some reflections from AGUASAN Workshop 2018
  10. Achieving Professional and Sustainable Drilling in Madagascar? Yes, we can!

Find more blog posts

Find the newest blog posts here: RWSN Blog

Write your own Blog posts on rural water supply

Feel free to send your text and one or more pictures (if possible) in an e-mail with the subject “RWSN Blog Post” to ruralwater@skat.ch

 

Safe Water for All: REACHing everyone in Bangladesh

by Dr. Rob Hope, University of Oxford, Prof. Mashfiqus Salehin, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and Dara Johnston, UNICEF Bangladesh , re-posted from REACH

A large concrete pipe belches untreated sewage into the Buriganga River in Dhaka, whilst men wade through the water to shift aggregate to construct more buildings for more people. The riverbanks team with life and colour as hospital bed sheets dry after being recently washed in the river, bamboo poles float-in-waiting for the next tower block and mountains of fresh fruit lie ready for sale in nearby markets while countless children play without a care in the water.

Continue reading “Safe Water for All: REACHing everyone in Bangladesh”

Call for Abstracts – Sri Lanka Water Conference

3rd Annual Research Symposium

The National Water Supply & Drainage Board

Ministry of City Planning and Water Supply

20th March, 2017

At The Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), Colombo, Sri Lanka

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

Web: http://www.waterboard.lk

Email: agmrnd@gmail.com

Deadline for Abstract Submission:

30th November 2016

Send Abstracts to: agmrnd@gmail.com

Local and international authors are invited to submit abstracts under the following conference themes.

  • Wastewater reuse / Wastewater for Future
  • Socio Economic Aspects of Water & Sanitation for Small Communities
  • Challenges in Reduction of Water Loss & Revenue Increase
  • New Trends in Wastewater Management
  • Challenges in Implementation of Wastewater Systems
  • Sustainable Sanitation Solutions for Small Communities
  • Future Trends of Water Supply
  • Business Efficiency in Drinking Water Supply and Wastewater Management

High quality abstracts, with the potential to generate new knowledge, related to completed/on-going studies or based on experience and prepared according to the brochure linked to the news headlines of www.waterboard.lk , would be selected for oral or poster presentations.

All presenters will be given free registration for participation. Further, a limited number of local sponsorships will be offered for foreign presenters.

For more details – Contact: Assistant General Manager (Research & Development),   +94112625196,   agmrnd@gmail.com

Visit http://www.waterboard.lk