RWSN Update – April 2016

The RWSN quarterly newsletter – April 2016

If you are having trouble reading this then download the more readable PDF version: ENGLISH / FRANÇAIS. Pour les francophones – Si vous souhaitez recevoir le bulletin trimestriel en français, veuillez nous écrire un e-mail à ruralwater @ intitulé Bulletin Trimestriel en français.


Dear RWSN members and friends, dear colleagues,

Knowledge sharing and learning is critical to establishing and delivering water services that last. Advances in communications technology have made this easier than ever at a global scale. I hope that you have taken advantages of RWSN’s online discussions, webinars and publications – and we know from the feedback that you have given us, that you do value these exchanges.

However, even with such powerful online tools, nothing beats meeting people face-to-face. It is an opportunity to strengthen links with past and current collaborators, and hopefully find new partners for the work ahead. That is why the RWSN Forum is such an exciting opportunity for sharing.

The agenda is set by you, the members, and the contributions that you have submitted.  Complemented by regional pre-events in Peru and Thailand, the 7th RWSN Forum in November will be a truly global event – and it brings together people with a common purpose, which is expressed clearly in the RWSN Vision:

“of a world in which all rural people have access to a sustainable and reliable water supply which can be effectively managed to provide sufficient, affordable and safe water within a reasonable distance of the home.”

At the last Forum, way back in 2011, delegates agreed on the 10 Kampala Commitments.  The 7th Forum, this year, gives us an opportunity to reflect on these, the progress we have made, what needs to be done, and what we have learned. Do we still hold to the same principles, or has thinking and experience taken us in a new direction?

Be part of this conversation and I look forward to welcoming you to Abidjan on 29 November.


Ton Schouten, Chair

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Word from the Chair – January 2016

Dear RWSN members and friends, dear colleagues,

2015 was the year that the international community signed off on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Global Goal 6, Target 6.1 is ‘our’ goal: “by 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all”. It is a great goal and an inspiring mission for all of us!

We are all different, all working in different organisations, countries and communities. But we share the passion for rural water, for the technical details of rural water supply, for the implementation of our projects and the cooperation with communities.

More than the passion for our profession we share the hope and belief that we can contribute to a world where no one will be without reliable access to safe water in 2030.

There is no more rewarding and fulfilling mission than to support achieving that. It will not be easy; there is much that needs to be done.

Sometimes we will despair and sometimes we will not know how to proceed, but if we are able to work together, to listen to each other, to respect our very diverse backgrounds, opinions and cultures, than we will make progress. Step by step and day after day.

I wish you all an inspiring 2016, filled with love and wisdom. In the lives with your families and friends and on your professional path towards safe and affordable drinking water for all.

Ton Schouten, Chair

New Horizons: towards universal water access by 2030 // De nouveaux Horizons: vers l’accès universel à l’eau d’ici à 2030

by Ton Schouten, Chair of RWSN

Ton Schouten, Chair of RWSN
Ton Schouten, Chair of RWSN

The world has signed off on the Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 6 is the big water and sanitation goal and includes targets for water services and water resources: universal access to a safe and affordable water supply, but also targets for water quality, water use efficiency, water related eco systems and water resources.

Le monde s’est engagé sur des Objectifs de Développement Durable. L’Objectif 6 est le grand objectif pour l’eau et l’assainissement et inclue des cibles pour les services d’eau et les ressources en eau : accès universel à un approvisionnement en eau potable sûr et accessible financièrement, mais aussi des cibles sur la qualité de l’eau, l’usage efficient de l’eau, les écosystèmes reliés à l’eau et les ressources en eau.

Continue reading “New Horizons: towards universal water access by 2030 // De nouveaux Horizons: vers l’accès universel à l’eau d’ici à 2030”

Word from the Chair: The Challenge of Change

The world in which we work is changing.  Some changes may be sudden and catastrophic, for example the outbreak of armed conflict, or the impacts of flooding.  The wars in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Somalia have resulted in destruction of much water infrastructure.  The Pakistan floods of recent years have had similar disastrous results.  But many of the changes which are occurring are continuous, for example growth of population, economic growth, or climate change as a result of greenhouse gas emissions.  Some of these changes are quite fast while others are much slower.  In my own working lifetime I have seen populations grow by a factor of about 3 in many of the countries where I have worked.  Gradual and continuous change, but by now having massive impacts on the state of the environment and natural resources, and on demands for water.

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Word from the Chair: How do we widen the net?

Transferring the Knowledge: Handpump Training with Erich Baumann and the Austrian Red Cross (Photo: S. Furey, 2012)

If you receive this newsletter, and if you routinely receive the latest RWSN Field Notes and other knowledge products, then you are, like me, one of the privileged few who is reasonably well (or very well) connected to internet and email.  Assuming our workloads allow, we have wonderful opportunities to read and so access the experience and knowledge of water professionals and organisations around the world, and to use or adapt that knowledge to our own circumstances.  But what about those who work in remote areas, with limited travel or conference budgets, and with poor or no electronic connectivity?  Professionals who work for local Governments, local NGOs and CBOs, and the local private sector, who have very limited access to up-to-date experience and knowledge, either in their own country or beyond.

How should RWSN and other similar organisations communicate with and support such important workers?  Is it simply a matter of extending internet connectivity and speed ever more widely?  Or are there other things that we should be doing in the meantime to get better knowledge and ideas into the minds of local workers, so contributing to a greater level of professionalism at the ‘coal-face’?  If you have ideas about this, do please write to me or to the Secretariat.  Should we be producing different kinds of knowledge products, disseminating them in different ways, and helping our fellow workers assimilate and use them better?  Do let us know what you think.

Professor Richard Carter
Director, Richard Carter & Associates
Chair of the Rural Water Supply Network

A Word from the Chair: Sustainable water services for everyone

ImageThis network of rural water professionals would never argue that services for urban populations are unimportant, or that sanitation and hygiene are less necessary to human health and dignity than water supply.  All people regardless of location need both water supply and sanitation services, and to practise good hygiene – in other words urban and rural WASH.

However two global monitoring reports published this year [1],[2] both highlight two serious imbalances in the way the world addresses WASH

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