Cautiously optimistic

More useful analysis from the Triple-S team

water services that last

What will it take to create WASH sectors that work? 

By Patrick Moriarty, Harold Lockwood, and Sarah Carriger

Over the past few months in a series of posts we’ve been advocating for a change in the goal of the WASH sector – from increasing coverage to delivering a service over the long haul; from simply building infrastructure to building infrastructure and managing it into the future to provide services worthy of the name.

And we’ve been calling for a change in approach — from piecemeal projects to strengthening the whole system that delivers services.

We’ve shown how we’ve gone about supporting this type of change in Ghana together with the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, and we’ll continue posting examples from other countries where we’re working.

For now, in the final post in this series, we’d like to talk more about what committing to this change calls for from…

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Long, expensive & messy: the realities of sector change

Latest update from Triple-S

water services that last

By Patrick Moriarty, Harold Lockwood, Vida Duti and Sarah Carriger

In the last post in this series we described our approach to changing the whole system to deliver water services that people can count on: not just for a few years, but for life. We laid out the main phases in this change: initiation, learning and testing, and finally scaling-up and systemic impact. In this post we’d like to show you what that looks in the real world, using the example of our work in Ghana under the Triple-S (Sustainable Services at Scale) project.

One of the reasons we chose to work in Ghana was that it was typical of many countries: they’d made significant progress in increasing coverage, but they had significant problems, particularly in their rural water sector, with lack of financing for repairs and replacements, weak supply chains for spare parts, and poor support from local government…

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Everyone together for everyone forever: changing the whole system in practice

water services that last

by Patrick Moriarty and Harold Lockwood

In the first post in this series, we explained why we believe that a paradigm shift is needed in the WASH sector: moving beyond the construction of physical hardware to the universal provision of safe drinking water (and sanitation) services worthy of the name.

Because of the number of activities and actors involved, water and sanitation service delivery is inherently complex. And as much as we may be drawn to the idea of straightforward technological or market-based solutions, this complexity means such solutions will never get us all the way to sustainable services for everyone – particularly for the poorest people in the hardest to reach and most remote areas.

It is not enough that one individual or organisation begins to perform better or that an improvement is made in some technical aspect of service delivery. The whole system of individuals, organisations, technologies and…

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Changing the whole system to provide water, sanitation and hygiene services that last

water services that last

By Patrick Moriarty and Harold Lockwood –

For the last six years or so, primarily through our WASHCost and Triple-S initiatives, IRC has engaged deeply with the challenges of what it takes to provide sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services. We think that we’ve identified many parts of the puzzle (and so have many others working in the same direction – we’re keenly aware that we’re not the only show in town) and we’ve been sharing these regularly through our websites, papers and blogs. But, what does it take for these piecemeal findings to be taken up and to lead to wholesale change: ensuring that the post-MDG goals of universal access with sustainable WASH services can be achieved by 2030?

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Who serves the in-betweeners?

water services that last

By: Marieke Adank, IRC

Small towns and peri-urban areas are by definition found in the grey area in between the truly urban and the truly rural. Also in terms of water supply, fifty shades of grey are found in these types of settlements. People living here often fall in between the cracks of urban utilities and rural water committees. Their water supplies have characteristics of both these service delivery models – though not necessarily the best of those two worlds.

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India rural water supply: an orphan of reforms?

water services that last

By V. Kurian Baby, India Country Director, IRC

Community rural water supply (RWS) in India is an orphan of partially implemented demand responsive sector reforms on the one hand and unsuccessful decentralisation on the other. Historically, rural water supply in India has been outside the sphere of governments (NRDWP 2013). The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment (Act 1992) made drinking water and sanitation a constitutional mandate of the three tier system of Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs). Even after two decades, the decentralisation process is an unaccomplished dream lying between de-concentration and devolution. In many states the progress is either stalled or reversed.

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Users perception of rural water services in Ghana: A case of satisfaction or dissatisfaction?

water services that last

By: Tyhra Kumasi, Senior Research Officer, Triple-S Ghana

Dora is a 33 year old teacher living in Agbedrafo in the Akatsi South District. She depends on the only handpump in the community for her daily domestic chores; however she laments the difficulties in getting access to fetch water. According to Dora “even though fetching is on a first-come-first-serve basis, people bring very big receptacles and containers that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for others to get the opportunity to fetch. Because of this I am sometimes unable to fetch enough. In such a situation I borrow from a neighbour and replace later”. The problem with the borehole is that, after fetching the first few buckets it becomes difficult and hard to pump, one has to wait for a while, about 15 minutes to resume pumping for water. This is worse in the dry season, when she has to…

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