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?)

Continue reading “Peering over the fence – how water security can bring business and rural communities together”

Problems need problem-solvers

Capacity Development is one of those buzz-phrases that gets used and abused almost as much as Sustainable Development. Capacity has various definitions, but for me, one of the clearest is:

“Capacity is the ability of individuals, groups, institutions and organizations to identify and solve problems over time”

(Morgan, P. 1993 quoted on p.7 of Capacity development for improved water management, UNESCO-IHE 2009)

A shortage of capacity – the ability to identify and solve problems – is found in rural water supply across the world, from issues like pump corrosion, to lifecycle cost recovery to making the Human Right to Water a reality.

Problems become a lot easier where there are competent champions or – even better – strong teams who are able and willing to do a good job, even in adverse circumstances.

That’s why I have come to the annual meeting of UNDP Cap-Net, – at the invitation of its director, Dr Themba Gumbo. Cap-Net is a global network of capacity development networks that support capacity development in the water sector by providing technical and match-funding support to water-related training courses. The meeting was hosted by the Spanish cooperation agency, AECID, at their exceptional training facility in Cartagena, Colombia.

The main theme of the week was to explore how to use online and ICT methods to deliver courses and support learners. The centre-piece is Cap-Net’s Virtual Campus. The first three courses, which ran successfully earlier this year, were:

The courses work in similar way to a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), but requires a bit more commitment and if you want to join you have to submit a short CV and letter explaining why you want to do the course.

The meeting was also an opportunity to meet coordinators from some of  Cap-Net’s 22 regional and country networks from all over the world and to explore ideas for developing face-to-face training events. From this I got a lot of ideas and contacts to explore further.

There were other partners there as well, including CAWST, Water Integrity Network (WIN), Global Water Partnership (GWP), Sustainable Energy for All, the UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI, Water for People, and SDC Global Programme Water Initiatives so it was good to meet them and find out about the interesting work they are doing.

Another topic, was the potential of serious games, and two examples were presented:

  • Diana Rojas (SDC) presented an mobile game called Aventura Yaku for helping children (and grown-ups!) understand water and ecosystems services.
  • Gareth Lloyd (DHI) presented an online game called Aqua Republica, and we had a group competition on a version developed specifically for Cap-Net. Aiming at an audience of 13-18 year olds, behind the attractive graphics and game play is a direct link to detailed hydrological models in Denmark.

While great for introducing new audiences to the importance of water resources, don’t expect an RWSN game app for rural water any time soon. I’m not convinced that is it the right solution for what we want to do, but I like these initiatives very much.

Over the course of the rest of the week there were presentations and discussions on the importance of innovating and keeping up with the fast evolving ways of engaging new audiences through communications technology – whilst not forgetting the importance of hands-on, face-to-face learning.

As the week ended, I concluded that here are a group of people – and organisations – that RWSN should collaborate with if we are to fulfil our mission of raising the level of quality and professionalism of rural water supply services.

Watch this space…

 

 

 

Zambia: Borehole Drilling Harming Ground Water

THE construction sector in Zambia is at an all-time high, with buildings springing up all around the country, particularly in urban areas.

It is a building rush cutting across commercial entities and private individuals who are investing heavily in picturesque houses.

This is a mark of how Zambians have learnt the advantages of becoming homeowners and, consequently, securing the future of their families.

Continue reading “Zambia: Borehole Drilling Harming Ground Water”

Sustainable water resources management in Sri Lanka: present situation and way forward

by Senevirathne,   Assistant General Manger (Sociology), Sociology Section, NWSDB

Sustainable Water Resource Management

Sustainable water resource management has become a crucial factor for the socio-economic development of Sri Lanka that faces seasonal variation and competition among water users. One of the biggest concerns for our water-based resources in future is the sustainability of the current and even future water resource allocation. The latter part of this paper describes the current practices taken for water resource management with a view to updating sustainable strategies and putting them into practice.

It is true that making the sustainable development of our water resources is a challenge in Sri Lanka when considering the climatic changes, pressures from economic growth, the rising population, and increasing water consumption. The combination of these factors commonly results in increased water use, competition and pollution. Therefore, attention and concern must be given to collect, compile and gain knowledge from consumption, pollution and generate data of experimental value. This paper describes the main aspects of what has been learned in the process of supporting sustainable water resources management. Continue reading “Sustainable water resources management in Sri Lanka: present situation and way forward”

Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 7

D.Senevirathne Assistant General Manager (Sociology)   Policy and Planning Division   National Water Supply and Drainage Board
D.Senevirathne
Assistant General Manager (Sociology)
Policy and Planning Division
National Water Supply and Drainage Board

by Delgollage Senevirathne, Assistant General Manager (Sociologist) at the National Water Supply & Drainage Board (NWSDB), Sri Lanka.
NWSDB is an RWSN Member Organisation. To find out more visit the RWSN main website.

 

(13) Community ownership and responsibilities for modern water resources management

Community ownership of water resources is not envisaged. However, the water resources can be allocated in bulk form according to agreed quantities as per a river basin plan for water resources allocation to community managed piped water supply schemes and Irrigation schemes at secondary and tertiary level.

The Community Based Organizations will be held responsible for managing the water allocated in bulk among individual users by ensuring equitable allocations are distributed among individual users.

They also have a responsibility to maintain good quality water and should participate in consultations for decision making process at village and district / divisional and provincial levels.

They also need to be associated with river basin committees where decisions are made in allocation of water resources for development projects for new water supply schemes and irrigation schemes particularly concerning water diversion schemes that may affect their water allocation rights that have been already granted. They also can play a role in common issues such as maintenance of watershed protection and conservation programmes and environmental flows and sand mining issues and over-extraction of groundwater etc.

Community partnerships will also be required to maintain demand management measures such as reduction of water use when there is shortage in supply levels to enable equitable use of water through awareness creation, application of technology transfer programmes in efficiency improvements, application of associated regulations, imposition of self rule in reduction of water use etc.

(14) Recommendations
Continue reading “Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 7”

Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 6

by Delgollage Senevirathne, Assistant General Manager (Sociologist) at the National Water Supply & Drainage Board (NWSDB), Sri Lanka.

(10) Gender sensitive approach to and participation in water issues countering caste, political and religious discrimination in access to water

Access to water is directly dependent on women participation in fetching water as they are held mainly responsible for provision of water at household level on a continuous basis particularly when they have to depend on non-point sources available in fair distances away from their households. Hence their participation is considered as an important factor in decision making process for developing water supply connections at their households. Caste and wealth are major factors in influencing the political hierarchy in promoting public funds to develop water supply projects among the minority communities particularly among the Tamil population. There is no religious discrimination in access to water. All religious institutions and people belonging to different religions are equally treated in deciding on the water supply development projects.

Continue reading “Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 6”

Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 5

by Delgollage Senevirathne, Assistant General Manager (Sociologist) at the National Water Supply & Drainage Board (NWSDB), Sri Lanka.

(8) The social consequences of failure to control excessive ground water extraction

There are many instances where excessive groundwater extraction affects the availability of groundwater for other users leading to social consequences. Over extraction of ground water from a plot of land has a negative impact on the use of groundwater from the adjacent land users in case of simultaneous extractions are affected. If one party continuously extracts groundwater it will impact the aquifer and will become unsustainable in recharge levels.

In Sri Lanka, there is no legal provision to control use/ extraction of groundwater in terms of quantity and quality parameters.  Hence there is a need to introduce controlling legislation to manage the groundwater resources which is impacting on social consequences. Continue reading “Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 5”

Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 3

by Delgollage Senevirathne, Assistant General Manager (Sociologist) at the National Water Supply & Drainage Board (NWSDB), Sri Lanka.

(3) Grass roots and high level approach to resolution

Community based approach to resolution of water issues relating to competition resulting in water shortages for some communities operating in downstream areas will need strategies for water allocation including mechanisms to ensure equity in distribution of available water among the user communities based on rational allocation criteria.  The water allocation policies at national and river basin levels will have to be formulated and implemented.   Water conservation will be a common approach for resolving of issues relating to water shortages and demand management will be a tool for managing the issues using strategies such as awareness creation among the community users, legal provisions, technology improvements etc.

Continue reading “Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 3”

Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 2

by Delgollage Senevirathne, Assistant General Manager (Sociologist) at the National Water Supply & Drainage Board (NWSDB), Sri Lanka.

Awareness raising of the need for water conservation and pollution prevention and efficient use of water

Water availability depends on rainwater and groundwater and constrained by two factors space and timely occurrence while it is being impacted due to excessive use and type of use. Excessive use is based on the limitations in availability of water in the specific locations while type of use will lead to pollution of water bodies and as it depends on the quality of return flows in both surface and ground water resources. Efficient use of water will play a major role when there are instances of demand exceeding supply and purpose of water use. Water use for Hydro-power generation will depend on the timely releases from reservoirs and will become a source for secondary usage such as irrigation and water supply schemes. There is an advantage in secondary use of water if the primary use is for Hydro power generation, as there will be no impurities that will be accumulated during in-stream use of water.

Continue reading “Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 2”

Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 1

D.Senevirathne Assistant General Manager (Sociology)   Policy and Planning Division   National Water Supply and Drainage Board
D.Senevirathne
Assistant General Manager (Sociology)
Policy and Planning Division
National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Sri Lanka

by Delgollage Senevirathne, Assistant General Manager (Sociologist) at the National Water Supply & Drainage Board (NWSDB), Sri Lanka.

NWSDB is an RWSN Member Organisation. To find out more visit the RWSN main website.

Introduction

Water in Sri Lanka, being an island, comes from precipitation and the average annual rainfall is 1900 mm that falls in two monsoon seasons. The total rainfall is equivalent to a volume of 120 billion cubic metres spread over the land surface which equates to 2400 cubic metres per capita at current population levels – which is expected to reduce to 1900 cubic metres at a population threshold expected to reach 23 million by 2025.  The high intensity rains drain through 103 river basins with catchments of varying sizes ranging from 9 sq. km. to 10,327 sq.km. which is the largest Mahaweli river basin. Twenty river basins are covering wet zone of the country which carry about 50% of the annual surface runoff ( Sri Lanka Water Partnership).

Continue reading “Social Dimension of Water Resource Management in Sri Lanka – Part 1”