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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It all starts with knowing!

Dear Members,

There is a lot of attention for monitoring, and rightfully so. New Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have opened great possibilities to collect data, store data and visualise data on mobile phones. Maybe some of you already have used mobile phones for data collection. New ICT has brought national scale sector monitoring within reach. It has been done in Liberia, countries in Central America, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Ethiopia and many others.

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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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Handpump management: a rearguard battle or a necessity?

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Stef Smits (IRC)

Summary of Post-Webinar Discussion on LinkedIn Group Regarding Handpump Management (click to read and join in)

Stef Smits summarises some key points arising from the webinar and the discussion that followed:

Handpumps have still a role to play in 1) small dispersed rural communities [of less than let’s say 2000 people], and in 2) bigger or more dense communities as a complementary or back-up source to piped supplies. They are and will remain an important source of supply and need to have proper management arrangements. These arrangements should – as much as possible – follow arrangements for other communal supplies, or even drawing on good practices from urban management and when they are located close to a town they could even be managed by an urban provider under a “service area” approach

Professional management arrangements exist, but they do cost. The case of Vergnet comes down then to about 3 US$/family/month or 36 US$/family/year. This is in line with the WASHCost findings, which showed that all minor O&M ánd capital maintenance would be about 3 US$/person/year, or some 15 US$/family/year. But if you add the costs of professional support to that (e.g. in the form of handpump mechanics, or local government support), another 15 US$/family/year should be added, summing to about 30 US$/family/year. So, if we accept that this figure gives the right of order magnitude, rightfully the question may be asked on who pays for what.

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A bit short of a miracle …

The “Everyone Forever” is gaining traction

water services that last

By Patrick Moriarty and John Sauer

What is it that IADB’s Max Valasquez Matute in Honduras finds ‘only a bit short of a miracle’?  The decision by seven INGOs to align their programming in Honduras in support of an Everyone Forever movement aimed at delivering full coverage in sustainable rural water, sanitation and hygiene services.

Whether there was divine intervention or not, the meeting we attended on the 24 May between the assembled board members of the Millennium Water Alliance and the Mesa de Cooperantes (the donor coordination platform) of the Honduran WASH sector was pretty unusual – and very exciting.

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Planning for impact

A very useful update on the Triple-S project

water services that last

By Patrick Moriarty

Back in June and July of 2012, Triple-S underwent a mid-term assessment (MTA) by an excellent team led by Dr. Ben Ramalingam. The MTA was a hugely useful exercise, allowing the Triple-S team and our partners to take some time out from our day to day work to reflect on how we were doing. The MTA team held up a mirror to us as a project and process – in much the same way that Triple-S seeks to hold up a mirror to the rural water sector – allowing us to have a long hard look at ourselves.

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“A bit more for some” may not be a bad idea

A great report from Stef on the RWSN Management & Support workshop two weeks ago

water services that last

Two weeks ago, the “management and support” working group of the RWSN had its first meeting. This meeting focused specifically on management models and support arrangements for piped water supply in small towns. As rural settlements become bigger, a shift is made from point sources – like boreholes with handpumps – to piped systems. This trend has happened in Latin America and parts of Asia, and is now about to start in Africa and South Asia as well, as argued in the background paper by Marieke Adank. And as there is a shift to piped systems, users may actually want to shift towards higher levels of service. The question is whether that is not a bad idea?

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Why physical unique identifiers on water points will improve sustainable services

This blog is by Susan Davis, executive director of Improve International, an organization focused on promoting and facilitating independent evaluations of WASH programs to help the sector improve. She has more than 13 years of experience in international development and has evaluated WASH and other programs in 16 developing countries. Her first career (8 years in environmental consulting) involved projects like combining databases across the 10 US Environmental Protection Agency Regional offices, which is where her respect for unique identifiers was born. 

What is a unique identifier?

You probably don’t think of it, but you use unique identifiers every day. In the US, your social security number is your unique identifier for the government (which is why if someone has it they can steal your identity).  Your bank account number helps the bank track all information associated with you.

What is a physical unique identifier?

Well, your house has one – in the form of an address.  Your car has one – the vehicle identification number. The license plate might count but it is too easily removed.  My dog has an identification chip embedded between her shoulder blades because her license tag could easily come off with her collar.  A physical unique identifier needs to be permanent – long lasting in tough conditions, and not easily removed.
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