Getting to the heart of climate resilient WASH

by Dr John Butterworth, IRC WASH Ethiopia – re-posted with permission

Climate resilient WASH is about new ways of working across the traditional humanitarian and development sectors. We went to one of the harshest spots in Ethiopia, and surely in the world, to find out more.

Photo: An existing water point in Afdera, Afar

Continue reading “Getting to the heart of climate resilient WASH”

In Memoriam: Piers Cross

We were saddened to learn that Piers Cross passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on 29 March. Piers was a central figure in the WASH sector for many decades, in many roles at WSP and advising IRC, and was a driving force behind the Sanitation and Water for All partnership.Cross Piers 0708 Stockholm WWW PCross

He played a critical role in the development of RWSN, when he was Chair of the network between 2004 and 2008, by re-shaping the Handpump Technology Network (HTN) to the Rural Water Supply Network that we have today.

He leaves a great legacy and his words of wisdom and wit will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him.


Nous sommes désolés d’apprendre que Piers Cross est décédé le 29 mars, entouré de sa famille. Piers était une personne clé du secteur de l’eau, de l’assainissement et de l’hygiène pendant plusieurs décennies, et a tenu de nombreux rôles à WSP et en tant que conseiller de IRC. Il était également une force motrice du partenariat Sanitation and Water for All.
Il a joué un rôle critique dans le développement de RWSN, lorsqu’il était à la tête du réseau entre 2004 et 2008, en assurant la transformation de ce qui était à l’époque le Réseau des technologies sur les pompes manuelles (Handpump Technology Network) au Rural Water Supply Network que nous avons aujourd’hui.
Son héritage perdure et ses mots de sagesse et d’esprit manqueront à tous ceux qui ont eu le plaisir de le connaitre et de travailler avec lui.

P.S. La famille Cross a accès à son compte email dans les mois qui viennent, donc vous pouvez envoyer vos condoléances si vous le désirez à cette adresse email: piers.cross {at} gmail.com


Estamos anunciando la noticia triste de que el día 29 de Marzo Piers Cross falleció, en compañía de su familia. Piers era un personaje clave en el sector de Agua, Saneamiento e Higiene por muchas décadas y en muchos roles, como líder en WSP o como asesor de IRC, y era un motor detrás de la iniciativa Sanitation and Water For All.

El también desempeño un papel fundamental en el desarrollo del RWSN cuando era presidente de la red entre 2004 y 2008 y en el rediseño de lo que era el Handpump Technology Network de aquel entonces hacía el Rural Water Supply Network que somos hoy.

El deja un legado muy grande y su sabiduría y su humor serán extrañados por todos y todas que tenían el placer de conocerle y de trabajar con él.


Kelly Ann Naylor, RWSN Chair

P.S. The Cross family will continue to monitor his email account for a few months, so please feel free to send any well wishes to this email address: piers.cross {at} gmail.com


Tributes to Piers from past and present members of the RWSN Executive Steering Committee – you can leave yours in the comments section below:

‘Piers Cross was at the helm when I first got involved with RWSN, as it transformed from HTN. His passion, commitment and humour were instrumental in inspiring me to became actively involved in the network and ignited my passion for rural water services. He will be sorely missed by the sector as a whole and by those of us who were honoured to call him a friend.’ – Dr Peter Harvey, UNICEF

 

‘The water community, and specifically many of us individually, are better thanks to his wisdom and passion. As a former employee under him in WSP, I will fondly miss him. We pray that his soul rests in eternal peace.’  – Maimuna Nalubega, African Development Bank

Rural water supply access in Tanzania: why has it stagnated?

re-posted from:http://www.ircwash.org/blog/rural-water-supply-access-tanzania-why-has-it-stagnated

Despite massive investments in rural water supply in Tanzania, the number of people with access to improved water sources has not increased. This begs the question, what could be the reason for this stagnation?

This blog post is written by Lukas Kwezi and Catarina Fonseca 

Investments in rural water supply in Tanzania have increased significantly over the past decade. According to a 2015/16 water sector status report by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, about US$ 500 million has been spent on rural water supply since the start of the Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP) in 2006, with about one-third of total spending coming from government.

This increased spend has largely been due to the drive to accelerate delivery of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and political commitment to meet the Tanzania Development Vision 2025 through various initiatives such as the Big Results Now (BRN).

For every new person served with an improved water source, there are two new persons without access

The Tanzanian population has tripled from 12.3 million in 1967 to 44.9 million in 2012. In 2015, due to reduced mortality rates and persistently high fertility rate, the total population had grown to almost 50 million, with about 70% of this population living in rural areas. Despite massive urbanisation, rural population growth was three times higher than urban population growth during this period.

However, access to drinking water coverage has only increased by one percentage point from 45% in 1990 to 46% in 2015 (see Figure 1). This clearly indicates that the investments made in the sub-sector have only managed to keep pace with population growth rather than expanding access to new population.

Figure 1: WHO/UNICEF JMP, URT (2015 Update)
Figure 1: WHO/UNICEF JMP, URT (2015 Update)

Population growth offers opportunities for investments and economic growth, but many agree that the increase in population is putting a huge strain on provision of basic services and resources, especially water. Recent data from the World Bank shows that the average volume of renewable freshwater per capita per year in Tanzania has declined by 80% since independence (from 7,862 m3 in 1962 to 1,621 m3 in 2014), putting the country in the water-stressed category. Water resource challenges are going to increase with growing agricultural intensification combined with climate change in the coming years. These facts highlight the importance of formulating water sector strategies that address the needs of the current and future population.

Where did the money go?

Construction of new schemes has been prioritised over building effective systems for operation and maintenance. For example, recent analysis shows that during the period 2012-2015, 75% of the expenditure in the rural water subsector went to the construction of new infrastructures, while only 14% went to recurrent expenditure – mainly salaries and allowances at local government level. While focus on new construction is not necessarily wastage of resources, the bias towards new construction compromised a focus on maintaining old and existing schemes. We all know that ‘Old is Gold’, but old gold must be smelted and polished to maintain its value.

On the other hand, over 80% of schemes constructed were motorised schemes with average per capita costs of US$ 24-90, deviating from the envisioned 48% hand pumps during programme design. Although the costs compare reasonably well regionally, the change in technology, meant that the programme was able to reach only half of the target population. Besides, motorised schemes come with their own risks: they are often costly and complex to operate and maintain.

Sustainability challenge: it’s not the pipes, it’s the institutions and its people

Studies in Sub-Saharan Africa show that for local authorities to provide sustainable water services, they should spend between US$ 1-3 per person per year on direct support costs and US$1.5-7 per person per year on major maintenance. However, evidence shows that in Tanzania, local authorities spend only 6-10% of what they should spend to ensure sustainable services.

Local authorities often lack adequate funds for direct support. This means that they are unable to fulfil their administration, contract management, and operation and maintenance support functions, to ensure sustainability of water services, and prevent future problems. Also, when unexpected major maintenance occurs (e.g. renewal or replacement of a pump), local authorities and communities often do not have the resources.

Anecdotal evidence from different regions in the country shows that it may take between 3-6 months to negotiate and settle the costs of repairs. During this period, even if major repairs cost only US$ 100, people revert to using unimproved water sources. Studies estimate that about one-third of water points in Tanzania become non-functional after two years of operation, forcing people to return to using unprotected, unsafe sources, indicating low levels of sustainability of rural water services. The implication is that a significant number of people that may have already been provided with first time access fall back to using unimproved water sources.

Rough estimates show that 5.3 million people could be provided with improved water sources if the bulk of non-functional water points were made functional. If this trend is not reversed, reaching the bottom 40% is going to be even more difficult.

What needs to change?

The second phase of the Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP) began in July 2016, with the aim to provide access to clean, safe water to 85% of the rural population by 2020/21. The government estimates that about US$ 862 million would be required to finance the plan. This is a very ambitious target but achievable if sector stakeholders can adopt new approaches and ways of working beyond the narrow focus on new construction.

First, we need to shift incentives and accountability (at all levels of government, politicians, donors, private sector, local authorities and communities) from delivering water points to delivery of sustainable services. The government has now embarked on results-based financing approaches to rural water supply. However, the implementation should be accompanied by a change in mind-set of planners, politicians, engineers, donors and communities. They need to realise that in order to deliver quality services and achieve the desired outcomes, it is not enough just to create an infrastructure (school, health facility, water point). Equally, we also need to strengthen and invest in the institutional system that manages and maintains the infrastructure.

Secondly, we need to get better at monitoring results. This encompasses cultivating a culture of accurate and timely reporting; measuring and verification of whether results reported have been achieved or not, and ensuring information generated is used to inform planning, budgeting and decision-making processes. New technologies can really create a ‘data revolution’ that will allow government and citizens to monitor and continuously improve service provision – if it’s part of the governance and formal accountability mechanisms.

Thirdly, we need to broaden the approach and adopt alternative service delivery models; for example by considering self-supply as a complementary water service delivery model in areas which are difficult to reach. This would mean adopting a broader financing framework to rural water supply that goes beyond capital investments for community-managed water supply systems.

Lastly, the current water policy, which assumes that communities are able to cover full costs related to operation and maintenance of water infrastructures, needs to be reviewed, along with clarifying financial responsibilities and accountability by different parties for capital investments, minor maintenance, major maintenance and direct support costs.

Disclaimer: Lukas Kwezi currently works for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) as Water and Sanitation Adviser, based in Dar es Salaam. He writes blog posts in his spare time. Though he may talk about the work he does in the sector, this is neither a corporate nor a political blog and the opinions and ideas expressed here are solely his own, not those of his employers. 

#RWSN @ #WWW : the presentations

RWSN co-convened two sessions at last week’s SIWI World Water Week in Stockholm and presentations are available to download:

WASHoholic Anonymous – Confessions of Failure and how to Reform

All presentations: http://programme.worldwaterweek.org/sites/default/files/panzerbeiter_lt_1400.pdf

Build and Run to Last: Advances in Rural Water Services

Continue reading “#RWSN @ #WWW : the presentations”

Providing water, sanitation and hygiene services that last forever for everyone, is all about systems.

by Dr Patrick Moriarty, IRC

http://www.ircwash.org/blog/it-all-about-systems

Systems such as monitoring systems to see whether services are delivered; financing frameworks that define who pays for what and how; and procurement mechanisms for infrastructure development.  Developing those systems – the people, skills, resources – is therefore critical – it will allow us to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, and to end dependency on aid.

Continue reading “Providing water, sanitation and hygiene services that last forever for everyone, is all about systems.”

RWSN & UPGro at Africa Water Week: WASH Sector Learning and Joint Sector Review sessions // RWSN & UPGro à la Semaine africaine de l’eau

Next week is Africa Water Week (http://africawaterweek.com/6/) , the event that happens every two years that brings Africa governments together to discuss and share experiences on all aspects of water management and WASH, and provides an interface with the latest innovation and research.

If you are attending then please do join RWSN and UPGro partners, UNICEF, IRC, Skat, USAID/WALIS, MWE, Africa GW Network in the following sessions:

 Strengthening national capacities for WASH sector learning Continue reading “RWSN & UPGro at Africa Water Week: WASH Sector Learning and Joint Sector Review sessions // RWSN & UPGro à la Semaine africaine de l’eau”

Learning in the rural water supply sector – a complexity perspective

by Felix Knipschild, reblogged from IRC

How can I conceptualise and model learning in the rural water supply system in Uganda?

This is the challenge I’ll be working on for the next 5 months at IRC. I’m a student at Delft University of Technology, following the master Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and Management. At my faculty, we learn to look at the intersections between technical systems and social systems and design for complex systems.

Continue reading “Learning in the rural water supply sector – a complexity perspective”

What’s happening in RWSN?

So this week, Kerstin Danert , Dotun Adekile and Jose Gesti Canuto are in Zambia running a “Procurement, Contract Management and Costing and Pricing of Borehole Projects” course with 40 water sector professionals as part of the RWSN collaboration between Skat and UNICEF on cost effective boreholes.

In Perú, The World Bank and SDC have been running a RWSN side event on rural water supply at this year’s Latinosan conference. This is first of two preparatory meetings (the second will be in Bangkok in May) for the 7th RWSN Forum, which will be 29th Nov – 2 December 2016

The World Bank, IRC, WaterAid and UNICEF will be actively involved in next week’s SWA High Level Meeting of WASH sector Ministers in Addis Ababa helping to make sure that rural water (and indeed sanitation and hygiene) become a high political priorities on government agendas and budgets.

and finally, World Water Day is on 22nd of March, so you have any rural water stories to share, then get in touch.

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…

View original post 1,722 more words

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…

View original post 1,220 more words