“We ate all the meat; there are only bones to chew on now”

analysis of life cycle costs in Honduras

water services that last

Comimos toda la carne; sólo nos quedan los huesos” (we ate all the meat; there are only bones to chew on now”, said Luis Romero of CONASA (the water and sanitation policy making body in Honduras), in response to the graphs below, when we presented these as part of the sharing of the results of the life-cycle costs analysis in Honduras.

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reflections on Everyone, Forever and lifecycle costing in Honduras

water services that last

Anyone who works in the water sector cannot have missed the various consultations and debates on the post-2015 goals for water and sanitation, with the official one taking place here, but also good online discussions, such as the one on The Broker online. At the same time, technical proposals have been developed by working groups on water, sanitation and hygiene, as nicely presented here by my colleague Catarina Fonseca. The consensus in both the technical proposals and the discussions around them is the vision of universal coverage. The difference lies in the time frame: can it be achieved in our life time? Or is that just wishful thinking? Over the past year, this blog has paid lots of attention to the “Forever” side of “Everyone, Forever”, as Water For People have so compellingly called it. For the coming period expect more posts here on the…

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Apples and oranges: a comparative assessment in WASH

water services that last

A few weeks ago, an interesting email discussion was held on “water point mapping” D-Group of the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN). Part of the discussion focused on how much it costs to map or monitor all water systems in a country. Various figures were floating around in the discussion. But when looking at these in more detail, it was like comparing apples to oranges. Some of the costs mentioned had included the staff time of (local) government, others hadn’t, as they considered this to be a fixed cost; some referred only to a simple mapping of water points, others had done a more comprehensive collection of all kinds of data of the water points; some of the data were expressed in dollars per water point, others in local currency per person. So, no immediate sense could be made of the numbers. A former colleague once said: “an apple is…

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What does it take to sustain sustainability?

water services that last

As argued several times in this blog, post-construction support is one of the keys to sustainability of rural water supplies. One element of post-construction support is monitoring of aspects such as service levels and the performance of service providers, through which the support providers can better target their assistance. The last few years have seen a boom in efforts to set up information and monitoring systems of rural water supplies in many countries. Some were in first instance a one-off mapping exercise of all water points in a country; others were developed with the aim of regular updating for ongoing monitoring purposes. Particularly, cellphone technology has been instrumental in speeding up this process, as it is used in systems like FLOW (Field Level Operations Watch). A key question that comes back in the discussions on the topic (see for example the excellent discussion on the Rural Water Supply Network’s

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