Word from the RWSN Chair: RWSN to put the “Safe” in Safely Managed Drinking Water

by Kelly Ann Naylor, UNICEF, RWSN Chair

Accessibility. Availability. Quality.  These are the three criteria that define a safely managed drinking water service under SDG 6.1.  While accessibility and availability were known challenges for rural water supply services, the scale of the problem of rural water quality was not well quantified, until last year’s WHO/ UNICEF JMP Update Report 2017 put the water quality issue firmly on the map for rural water supply. While 73% of the world’s population drinks water free from contamination bacteriological and chemical contamination, only 55% of the world’s rural population – just over half – drinks safe water. Furthermore, estimates for water quality are only available for 45% of the global population.  The JMP report notes that these data suggest that levels of compliance with drinking water standards are likely to be low in developing countries.

RWSN addresses many aspects of rural drinking water services, but there had not been a specific focus on water quality thus far.  Given the importance of this issue for rural people, RWSN is proud to announce a new partnership with The Water Institute at UNC Chapel Hill to tackle the quality of water in rural water services. According to Professor Jamie Bartram (Director, The Water Institute at UNC), “this partnership will leverage the powerful RWSN platform and The Water Institute’s expertise in water quality and management to bring up to date evidence and methods to the members of the network.  As a new Topic Leader in Mapping and Monitoring, The Water Institute aims to bring evidence and practice closer by facilitating lively discussion and producing practical guidance on Safely Managed Water.”  You can find out more about this new partnership in the section below.

Accessibility and availability of drinking water also remain critical issues for rural populations.  Women and girls are responsible for water collection in 8 out of 10 households with water off premises, and 263 million people use water supplies more than 30 minutes from home.  Likewise, many rural water systems face operation and maintenance challenges that can leave rural populations with long downtimes when spare parts or skilled technicians are not available to make the repair.

RWSN’s Themes and online communities remain active on addressing Accessibility and Availability as part of the new strategy 2018-2023.  The Sustainable Services Theme explores service delivery models to ensure continuity and quality of services. The Sustainable Groundwater Development Theme is concerned with the overall availability of the water resource itself, while the recently-launched topic on “Solar Pumping” allows exchange on advances in solar pumping technologies and field experiences of their use and management.  The Mapping and Monitoring Theme is looking at how to reinforce in-country monitoring systems of water services. The Self-Supply Theme helps define the enabling environment that enables people to invest in and improve their own water systems. And cutting across all topics, the Leave No One Behind Theme emphasizes the need to have an inclusive approach to rural water, taking gender, disability, and marginalised populations into account to fulfil the human right to water.

Next year’s World Water Day theme will be “Leaving No One Behind.” Now more than ever, Rural Water practitioners will be on the forefront to take up this challenge and address these persistent inequalities so that rural populations everywhere can drink water that is safe, available when needed, and accessible close to home.

NEW! WEDC NOTES ON WASH FOR SMARTPHONES / FOUR NEW WEDC FILMS

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NEW!  WEDC MOBILE NOTES ON WASH for smartphones and tablets

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http://wedc.lu/washnotes

This collection of illustrated mobile notes on aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in low- and middle-income countries has been designed for people on the move.

Composed especially for smartphones and tablets, they can be read online or downloaded free of charge.

The link takes you to the list of currently available titles including the WHO Technical Notes on Drinking-water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Emergencies.

Bookmark the link on your phone as the list updates periodically when new notes are added to the collection.

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NEW! : WATER SAMPLING AND ANALYSIS – A series of four films

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http://wedc.lu/water-sampling

http://wedc.lu/measuring-the-turbidity-of-water

http://wedc.lu/measuring-chemical-concentrations-in-water

http://wedc.lu/membrane-filtration

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WEDC: Developing knowledge and capacity in water and sanitation

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For details of postgraduate opportunities, including distance learning options visit:

http://wedc.lboro.ac.uk/learn/index.html

Water, Engineering and Development Centre

School of Civil and Building Engineering

Loughborough University, UK

Uganda: Kitgum Residents Share Water Points With Animals

Interesting article in relation to recent RWSN discussions on Multiple Use Services (MUS) of water

WaterSan Perspective

Dan Michael Komakech
June 23, 2014

Residents of Toboi in Lolwa parish Orom Sub County in Kitgum district have resorted to sharing contaminated rain runoff water that collects on rock inselbergs with animals due to scarce water points in the vicinity.

The resident explain that they survive on dirty unprotected water from Lela Toboi inselberg because of the far distance of over three to seven kilometers that one has to trek in search of clean drinking water in the neighboring villages of Wipolo and Tikau and Karekalet river spring.

The situation has rendered residents particularly the most vulnerable elderly, disability and children to opt for nothing other than runoff water from contaminated sources which makes them exposed to water borne diseases and death.

“If it rains we utilize rain runoff water that gathers on these inselberg and if it dries off we trek to Wipolo aor Tikau where we are…

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Still or sparkling? Lessons from a WASH holiday

Rural water challenges are not just an African issue…

water services that last

I suspect that some of you, readers of this blog, are equal water nerds as I am, and that you also take your professional interest along on holiday. At least, I cannot resist visiting the odd water works or taking photographs of the local water and sanitation facilities during my holidays. This summer holiday I not only had the opportunity to take photos, but to live for a week the type of rural water situation, that I write about so much, but rarely experience in reality. As I spent my vacation on a family visit to my brother, who is managing a farm in the Moldovan rural village of Cuhureştii de Jos, I got some first-hand experience of the common problems around rural water supply and realized that some of the myths around it, are myths indeed.

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