Why getting ‘water affordability’ right matters – and how water diaries can be of help

re-posted from REACH

Dr Sonia Hoque, University of Oxford

Having access to 24/7 potable piped water in the comfort of our dwelling is a luxury that many of us take for granted. In the UK, an annual water and sewerage bill of £400 accounts for about 1% of the annual average household income of £40,000. This ‘safely managed’ water service, defined as having access to an improved source within one’s premises, is well within the widely established global affordability threshold of 3-5% of one’s household income. Estimating payments for water as a percentage of households monthly expenditures may adequately reflect ‘affordability’ in contexts where households have connections to piped water systems or rely on paid sources only.

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Are you responsible for universal, safe, sufficient, affordable & equitable water services?

by Johanna Koehler, University of Oxford, re-posted from REACH

The answer to this question was mixed by the policymakers across all 47 water ministries of the first devolved county governments in Kenya. Political, socioclimatic and spatial factors influence to what degree county policymakers assume responsibility for the water service mandate. A new article published in Geoforum presents novel insights into Kenya’s devolution and water service reform drawing on perceptions by all devolved county water ministries.

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#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

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Peering over the fence – how water security can bring business and rural communities together

RWSN/REACH blog post by Sean Furey, Skat Foundation (02.03.2016, Zurich, Switzerland)

 In 2015, the World Economic Forum ranked water as the global risk with the greatest potential to impact economies over the next 10 years. So what are companies doing to assess and manage these risks – and could their efforts benefit or worsen the livelihoods for rural people?

The first part of this question was addressed at a GreenBuzz lunchtime presentation on 2 March, by Tilmann Silber and Naomi Rosenthal from South Pole Group and Dr Julian Kölbel from ETH Zürich, entitled Water Management Beyond the Fence: Holy Grail or Wishful Thinking?”

Flower farms near Entebbe 4

(photo [S.Furey, 2012]: flower farms near Entebbe, Uganda –
how do companies manage water risks that effect them,
and impacts they have on others nearby?)

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Funding opportunity – Water Security

Happy New Year!

Let’s start 2016 with a bang:  a call for expressions of interest (EOIs) for ‘Catalyst Grants’ which are commissioned under the REACH programme.

Dr Katrina Charles explains the REACH Catalyst Grant process
Dr Katrina Charles explains the REACH Catalyst Grant process (click picture to see YouTube video)

These Catalyst Grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 each are designed to explore novel approaches to water security and poverty research and policy that complement the core research conducted by the REACH programme. These grants will promote the co-production of effective tools and technologies relevant for and adopted by policy makers, practitioners, civil society organisations and enterprise.

There are three themes for this call:

  1. Water security for vulnerable people
  2. Water security risk science
  3. Water security partnerships.

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Out today: Addressing arsenic and fluoride in drinking water – Geogenic Contamination Handbook

by Dr Annette Johnson and Anja Bretzler, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) – www.wrq.eawag.ch

Researchers at Eawag have been involved in finding technological solutions for arsenic-contaminated drinking water over the last decades. When we also started looking at fluoride contamination in drinking water we soon came to realise how enormous the problem was and how that challenges to long-term mitigation were the same irrespective of contaminant.
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Location Matters: A Small Tweak Brings Clean Water Innovations to 5 Million People

by Maura O’Neill,  Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Counselor to the Administrator, USAID

(first appeared: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maura-o/location-matters-a-small-_b_3333535.html)

From the hills of western Kenya to the coastlines of Haiti, blue bins are popping up unexpectedly across local landscapes. These unassuming plastic containers positioned near communal water sources and propped on stands built from local materials, don’t exactly seem like life-saving innovations–but ask the half million people who use them daily, and they will tell you otherwise.

These modest-looking systems are the water purifying Chlorine Dispensers developed by Connecticut-based NGO Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). These systems are designed to bring clean water to beneficiaries like Martin Ouma, the Head Teacher at Busidibu Primary School in Kenya, and his students. Martin tells a common story that is echoed among the communities whose lives are transformed by Chlorine Dispensers: “The dispenser has reduced diarrhea in schools. Standards have gone up, and diseases related to drinking water have been minimized.”

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The Stone prize: innovative approaches to sustainable water purification and supply

By Trupthi Basavaraj and Rachel Findlay,
New Philanthropy Capital

When confronted by the sheer scale of the issues facing the water sector in developing countries, it is hard not to feel a little bit powerless. Globally, 780 million people, amounting to 11% of the world’s population, use unsafe drinking water or have no water source at all, and it has become increasingly apparent that more traditional models of water delivery are not always the most viable solution. It is estimated, for example, that 40% of the pumps built in Africa are broken at any given point, and each pump can take up to a month to be repaired.

For the Stone Family Foundation, the answer is to identify and support water initiatives that harness the power of the private sector, as these have the potential to create and sustain impact. To this end, the Foundation established the £100,000 Stone Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Water, administered by NPC. After an 8 month process to create a shortlist from a pool of 179 applications across 39 countries, the Foundation recently announced its Prize winner: Dispensers for Safe Water (DSW) for its innovative Chlorine Dispenser System. The dispenser is filled with dilute chlorine and placed near a communal water source, allowing individuals to treat their water free of cost with the correct dose of chlorine.
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Realities of water well drilling in Africa: e-discussion highlights so far

RWSN is currently hosting a 3 week discussion on ‘Cost Effective Boreholes’ as part of our Sustainable Groundwater Development Theme.  Here are some highlights so far:

It is very interesting to read the inputs so far from Kenya, Zambia, Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Uganda.

From the discussions so far, it seems that the Kenya and Ethiopia have established regulatory frameworks for water well drilling (thanks Chrispine and Tesfaye). In the Kenyan case, government regulation, which is limited by capacity constraints is augmented by the monitoring of activities by the drillers association. It will be interesting to hear more on this from Chrispine and others in Kenya. In contrast Zambia (thanks Daniel) lacks any regulation with respect to groundwater resources. There is thus no registration of boreholes in the country whatsoever and even drilling records must not be collected. Although a water resources management act was passed in Zambia 2011 it still awaits launch and implementation. Perhaps there are also others with ideas for Zambia. In Sudan, we hear from Harm Bouta about a very fragmented drilling sector with no strict regulations in place, but that there are other initiatives taking place in Sudan from which we could learn more.
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