Stef Smits, Túpac Mejía, Senia Eben Rodríguez and Damián Suazo: Effects of multiple use of water on the sustainability of rural water supply services in Honduras
The de facto use of rural water supply systems for productive purposes is a practice that has recently received recognition in Honduras. This paper presents the results of a study that tried to further characterise this existing practice in a more structured way through 14 case studies, in particular analyzing its effects on people’s livelihoods as well as on sustainability in service provision. The cases show the nearly universal existence of productive use of rural water supplies, but showed that the extent of the uses and the relative importance in people’s livelihoods differs a lot between different user categories. Although this de facto use of rural water supply systems may bring risks for sustainability in service provision, the cases also showed that a number of relatively simple measures can help in regulating water use. The authors believe that multiple use of water can be accommodated into service provision in such a way that it doesn’t cause negative impacts. [authors abstract]
Joachim Ibeziako Ezeji: Incorporating Productive Use into Water Systems in Urban Nigeria
Given the importance of the urban water system to low income productive water users, a functional and efficient utility as well as an appropriate policy framework has been identified as being imperative in order to maximize income and employment benefits for urban productive water users. This is true in Nigeria where water supplies to households by the water utilities have traditionally been confined within what is known as domestic water needs. The quantity of water supplied has often been meant to cover basic needs such as drinking, cooking and personal sanitation needs etc. However this has not been a true reflection of the use of this limited amount of water supplied. Recent studies in other parts of the world have however shown that millions of low-income households now, more than ever before are using their limited water supplies for activities such as productive uses. Such productive uses of water may not really thrive or even take off unless the required quantity of water is available. Such activities often generate numerous benefits to households involved. An understanding of how productive uses of water could successfully be mainstreamed into urban water systems in Nigeria was studied. This involved a social survey of households and institutions in Owerri, Nigeria; where productive uses of water is already real, particularly in activities such as home gardening, horticulture and livestock rearing etc. In view of the persisting problem in water supplies in Nigeria, where water utilities such as the Imo State Water Corporation (ISWC) is still enmeshed in intermittent supplies; the implications for households, especially the productive water users; alternative water suppliers and the government is explored in the paper in order to identify how supply sustainability for these activities could be maximized as a veritable tool vital in the fight against poverty. [authors abstract]
A powerpoint presented by Labahari Budhathoki, Nepal Water and Health (NEWAH) on the approach of NEWAH towards promoting kitchen gardens alongside water supply in Nepal.
The winning case study for the 2005 award was Laba Hari Budhathoki of NEWAH in Nepal. It described the broad benefits of an integrated water, sanitation and hygiene project that also included promotion of kitchen gardening. NEWAH used the award to undertake a follow-up study, and you can now read a full report on how gardening was promoted in the project, and the impacts.
A powerpoint presented by Joachim Ibeziako Ezeji, Water Engineering and development centre (WEDC) on incorporating productive uses into urban water systems in Nigeria.
Water policy in Kenya recognises use for drinking purposes, but does not address its growing demand and competing uses. In rural areas, water resources are used for a combination of basic human needs and productive purposes. These economic activities such as vegetable gardens, cattle farming, beer brewing amongst others, are highly dependent on reliable and adequate water supply (Nicol, 2000). Water serves in a wide range of productive uses to secure food and non-food income for rural households. It is a productive asset for the poor and an economic good, which, can be combined with other assets to generate financial and non-financial livelihood benefits (Mokgope & Butterworth, 2001). The aim of this study was to assess how the local community make their livelihood choices, determine the role water plays in these choices and how it affects their incomes and their food security.
The study area is located in Eastern Province of Kenya covering the districts of Machakos, Makueni, Kitui and Mwingi, with a population of 2.5 million people scattered over an area of 44,680 km² (Moresmau & Hanne, 2004). Their main source of income is subsistence agriculture. Unfavourable climatic conditions in the region are one of the factors leading to frequent food shortage and increasing poverty. The Integrated Natural Resource Management Project in Ukambani (INRMU) funded by the Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC) in collaboration with the Government of Kenya’s was chosen as the entry point for the study.
The survey was carried out in January 2005 in Machakos and Makueni districts.The household was the unit of analysis as it is the basis of livelihood economic activities, resource allocation and utilization. 27 households in the project and 30 outside the project were sampled. Data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires and focus group discussion (Ochieng, 2005).
The main occupation of the sample population is farming (80.7%) followed by salaried employment (12.3%) and trading (7.0%). 82% of the households own land, with the average ownership being 3.6 acres.
Type of water access, storage capacity, water expenses and participation in a water activity was significantly (p<0.1) different between the households in and those not in the project. The type of water access is the best distinguishing water use characteristic. The source of water, type of water access, storage capacity and monthly water expenditure had a significant (p<0.10) influence on household choice to participate in productive water use. The distance from water source was not significantly different (p>0.10) and does not influence household’s choice to engage in productive water use.
Most household have communal water access compared to private water points. Majority of households with private water points (92%) participate in productive water use with (83%) of them participating in BTC project compared to 51% with communal access who take part in productive water use (table 4). This agree with the findings of Hope et al. (2003), in a study in a rural community in South Africa, in which they found a positive association between the ability to involve in irrigation of vegetables and owning private water-supply.
Only 37.5% of households with community water projects are engaged in productive water use. Thus some households despite being in the BTC project are yet to derive any benefits and are not involved in productive water use. Reasons for this include inadequate water storage capacity, and inability to raise cost-sharing component for participation in the project. Households may be involved in none water-related or water-intensive livelihood options such as preparation of snacks or beer brewing for sale.
The cost of water depends on the household water use and collection strategy. Households participating in income related water activity incur relatively higher water expenses. High cost of water during the dry season, discourage participation in income related water activity. Mokgope & Butterworth (2001) in their study on rural water-supply and productive uses in South Africa found a similar problem and stated that this affected households’ participation in water activities.
The region is susceptible to frequent water shortages. It’s unclear why several households have no storage capacity and get water on a daily basis which is inefficient, laborious and time consuming. It’s probable that this is caused by inadequate capital to install storage facilities. Those with ability to pump water participate in water dependant economic activity and have large storage capacities. Households who harvest rain water have also invested on storage facilities. Water storage capacity does influence household water utilisation pattern.
Households generate income by using water for selected productive uses like vegetable production, livestock production and water sales. The primary productive water use activity was crop production (46 %). The large variation in incomes from vegetable cropping may probably be attributed to the irrigation technique, the type of vegetable grown and targeted market. Encouraging export crops require proper infrastructure, proper storage facilities and enabling marketing policies. Although vegetable production show an important contribution to the incomes of the households in the area, its sustainability and impact on poor households require further investigation.
Income of the households in the project and households participating in water activity were significantly (p<0.05) higher having a mean monthly income of KES 13605.9 while households outside the project had a mean of KES 6489.4.
The most preferred methods of irrigation were drip, furrow and manual irrigation. Those using drip irrigation are 17.5% indicating low adoption rate for this water saving technology. Drip irrigation showed higher water use efficiency, thus water quantity per se, may not be as critical in productivity as opposed to the efficiency in its utilisation. Fewer households use drip irrigation as its installation is costly and the skill of installation is beyond the means of the average and poorer households.
Unexpectedly, 77.2% and 75.4% stated that high cost of water and low incomes respectively are not constraints to household water utilisation. It is probable that water at this moment is not fully priced to reflect its demand and value.
This rural community views water as a productive asset and is engaging in on-farm income related water activities. Off-farm activities are limited/less favoured. Private water access influence participation in a water related activity compared to communal access. Knowledge on water harvesting and storage techniques is important since water storage capacity influences household participation in productive water use. The absolute amount of water used has no significant effect on incomes but rather the water use efficiency.
Water utilisation is hampered by inadequate water storage facilities, poor water harvesting techniques and limited skill or opportunities in water income activities. Enhanced productivity is undermined by poor infrastructure, unstable prices, poor access to market and inadequate market information.
This study shows that
- Private water access policy is likely to enhance productive water use.
- Policies that promote efficient water use technologies can enhance household productivity
- Marketing infrastructure and information is key to sustainable household productive water use
There is need to:
- Evaluate optimal options for on-farm and off-farm productive water use
- Assess opportunities for enhancing the participation of the poorest households in projects with cost sharing components.
- Identify policies and constraints that affect adoption of technologies with efficient water use.
- Determine the role of gender in household livelihood in relation to productive water use
Hope, R.A., Dixion, P-J., Von Maltitz, G., 2003. The Role of Improved Domestic Water Supply in livelihoods and Poverty Reduction in Limpopo province, South Africa, in International Symposium on water ,poverty and productive uses at household level, 21-23 January, Muldersdrift, South Africa, p. 94-108.
Mokgope, K. and Butterworth, J. A., 2001. Rural water supply and productive use: A Rapid Survey in SandRiver Catchment. WHIRL working paper (4), p.1-21.
Moresmau, V. and Hanne, P., 2004. Efficiency Use of Water in Ukambani-Kenya. A report by UNESCO and BTC-Kenya. Primex printers Ltd, Nairobi, Kenya. .p.28.
Nicol, A., 2000. Adopting a Sustainable Livelihoods Approach to Water Projects. Implication for policy and practice. ODI working paper (133). LondonUK.
Ochieng, N.C., (2005). Improved Domestic Water Utilization and Livelihood in Rural Kenya: MSc Thesis.GhentUniversity.
One dollar equals KES75
Consela Ochieng, Belgium (email@example.com)
This case study is based on projects implemented by Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH) in communities in the Eastern Region of Nepal as part of its goal to “improve the living standard of the Nepalese people in greatest need through equitable and sustainable delivery of safe water, health and sanitation services,” especially to women, poor and marginalised groups in remote and rural part of the country. The three project communities Sandhane, Sanodhappar and Jagretar were identified through surveys as communities deprived of development opportunities and without access to potable drinking water and adequate sanitation. People often suffered from water-borne diseases due to the use of unsafe water.
Starting from 2001 NEWAH implemented integrated drinking water, hygiene education and sanitation projects in these three communities in a phase wise basis in collaboration with Panchawati Village Development Committee (VDC), Panchawati Rural Development Center (PRDC), NEWAH’s long-term local partner and Srijansil Yuwa Samaj. The community was provided piped drinking water systems and partially subsidised latrine facilities along with hygiene education and trainings on health & sanitation, community management skills, masonry and kitchen gardening to sustain the programme as well as to improve their livelihood opportunities.
The 169 households from Sandhane, Sanodhappar and Jagretar communities of Panchawati VDC, Ward No. 9 in Udayapur district with a population of 914 people, live five hours difficult bus ride and an hour's walk from the district headquarters. The coverage of water, sanitation and literacy level is very low in this part of the district comprising of majority of communities deprived of development opportunities (coverage of improved source of water and sanitation was 69.7% and 24.4% respectively in the district (National Population Census 2001)).
Until two years back people bought vegetables from the local market despite the entire community consisting of farmers. Water, health and sanitation were major problems. Women had to walk long distances to fetch water. Due to open defecation and use of contaminated water, diseases such as diarrhoea, worms, jaundice and scabies troubled them a lot, mainly children. People had to spend money for their medical expenses.
Integrated drinking water, hygiene education and sanitation projects were implemented through the joint financial, technical, and management support of Panchawati VDC (local government unit) and NEWAH and collaborative efforts of local based NGO PRDC and Srijansil Yuwa Samaj. NEWAH does not implement any projects directly. It believes in providing safe water and sanitation services through communities and local partners and seeks to work with local government bodies to support the decentralisation initiative and to increase their accountability in water and sanitation service provision.
Piped water systems were constructed through community involvement and latrine construction was promoted at household level through partial subsidy. A project management committee representing both men and women was formed. Management trainings were provided to institutionalise and strengthen it and to build the capacities of its members for proper management and smooth operation of the project. The training focused on topics such as development, communication skills and its barriers, local participation etc. Similarly, masonry and caretaker trainings were also provided to develop human resources able to construct and maintain the systems.
During the health and sanitation training to the committee members, practical knowledge on contraction and control of diseases, the importance of personal hygiene, household and environmental cleanliness, importance of latrines, how faecal oral contamination occurs, diarrhoea etc. was provided. The training was aimed at building capacities of the committee to bring positive changes in the attitudes and beliefs of the people and motivate active participation of local men and women in the development of their community.
Likewise hygiene education classes were also conducted for the community people on topics like germs and contagious diseases, personal hygiene, faecal oral contamination, importance of latrine, proper management of wastewater and cleanliness of drinking water etc.
A two-day kitchen gardening training was organised to impart knowledge about kitchen gardening practices, management and collection of wastewater to grow vegetables in empty areas nearby houses, and promote production of healthy vegetables for self-consumption and income generation. Use of new technical and scientific methods, knowledge about seasonal seeds and ways of using manure in the vegetables were also taught to the participants.
Now people are able to drink clean water through the 26 tap stands constructed, and eat fresh vegetables simultaneously as kitchen gardening practices has increased rampantly. 158 latrines have been constructed in the community. Hygiene behaviour practices such as hand washing, covering food and drinking water and household and environmental cleanliness has improved. 83 of the households use garbage pits to dispose their wastes, 136 households use dish drying racks to dry their utensils, 90 households are involved in kitchen gardening and 65 households in Sandhane use improved cooking stoves.
Vegetables good for health and prosperity
A secondary school teacher from Jagretar, Yagya Raj Bhandari says, "before the implementation of the project only 10% of the households from this community used to eat vegetables with their meals, but now every household eat vegetables regularly." He feels that besides the grains being saved, eating vegetables on a regular basis has also had a positive impact on the health of the people.
Now many family households have also started selling vegetables. Dak Kumari Magar from Sandhane says she has enough money to buy stationary materials (like pencils and books) for her children from selling her kitchen garden vegetables. Earlier there was a lack of drinking water in the community, let alone the possibility of vegetable farming without any irrigation facilities. The locals previously had no knowledge or skill about kitchen gardening or availability of seeds. Now since every tole (cluster) has a water point, the problem of water has been solved and through the project the consumers have also gained knowledge about kitchen gardening. Maheshwor Dhungana from Jagretar informs that people have started taking interest in growing seasonal vegetables and farming pigs, goats and chicken.
Utilization of free time
After the implementation of the project the time consumed in carrying water has been saved. Calculating the time, Samjhana Bishwakarma a local woman expresses, "earlier we had to walk 40 minutes to fetch a gagri (pot) of water. This means spending 3 hours 20 minutes to fetch at least minimum 5 gagris of water required in a day. Now since the water point is only 5 minutes away from the house, in the time spent earlier to fetch 1 gagri of water, we now fetch 9 gagris of water." Now the time saved is utilised for farming, cleaning, relaxing and other miscellaneous activities. According to Rupesh Bishwakarma's experience the school children can concentrate on their homework from the time saved in carrying water.
Use of acquired skills for income generation
Bimal Nepali a resident of Maubasi, Panchawati VDC who acquired masonry skills through the project, has learned to construct water points and water tanks and is now earning a good living. He says that he earns around 30 to 35 thousand rupees annually through his skills.
Fundraising supports development of the community
Sandhane Project Management Committee member Awi Bahadur Magar says the changes noticed in the community is mainly because of introducing the community management concept, skill based knowledge, mobilisation of local means and resources during the implementation of the project. This also developed the feeling of self-reliance among the people. The maintenance fee collected from every consumer households in the community amounts to more than Rs. 22 thousand. This capital has been mobilised to provide loans for buying vegetable seeds, breeding domestic animals, for health check-ups and to carry out other income generative activities. Magar also reported that this committee has been able to register itself in the District Water Resource Committee.
Positive changes in the committee
Presently the users committee in each of the communities sits for regular meetings to discuss about their drinking water and sanitation progress and problems as well as about the community forests, roads and irrigation facilities. During such meetings discussions on how to increase the literacy level of out of school children, animal husbandry and new agricultural methods are also held and experiences are shared, informs the committee Treasurer Manju Magar. The Sandhane committee has recently constructed the community building through their own resources and uses it to conduct community activities.
Discussion: reasons for social upliftment
According to Social Mobiliser Ekraj Niraula who works on behalf of the District Development Committee (DDC) local development fund, the economic condition of the community has improved after the implementation of the community managed drinking water system in this sector. Kitchen gardening has increased, sanitation conditions have improved and medical expenses have been reduced, time spent in collecting water has been saved and this saved time is used for income generating activities. People have also learnt to save money. These are the main reasons behind improvement in the economic condition of the community. Lately there has been an increase in the number of children attending schools in these communities. There is unity among the community due to whichparticipation of people in community programmes have increased. Males have become more gender sensitive. Both male and female work equally. People sit for community meetings regularly. This reflects that people have developed a feeling of social ownership in all these communities.
- Easy access to water saves time for other activities especially that of women and to reduce dropout rate of school children
- Income generating activities implemented side by side with the project helps to win confidence of the people
- Socio-economic impacts were brought about by easy access of water making possible kitchen gardening practices and animal husbandry
- Development of community feeling, ownership, greater participation, unity, motivation and activeness among people to implement various activities
- Regular and timely monitoring is effective
- Hygiene education classes are helpful for self realisation and improvement in hygiene behaviour and sanitation practices
- A regular maintenance fund helps to sustain the project and in the meantime can be used for saving and credit purposes
Laba Hari Budhathoki, NEWAH, Eastern Regional Office, Biratnagar (c/o Anamika Singh firstname.lastname@example.org)
Included in the strategy published in September 2004 is the following discussion on water for productive livelihoods:
'"The objectives of the [National Water] Act are, among other things, to meet the basic human needs of present and future generations, to promote equitable access to water, and to redress the results of past racial and gender discrimination. The Department is committed to achieving these objectives, and particularly to ensuring that water management strategies contribute to the eradication of poverty.
Although significant progress has been made in addressing the backlogs in water services, the provision of water to meet basic human needs does not make allowance for water for income-generating activities.
Similarly, whilst prioritising allocations of water for emerging farmers and small grower forestry schemes, and revitalising defunct irrigation schemes has the potential to provide livelihoods for many people in rural areas, these do not address the needs of the large numbers of people who require water for small-scale activities such as, for instance, brick making, rearing poultry and growing produce for local sale. The quantities of water required are relatively small - research in small villages indicates that livelihoods can be significantly enhanced by the availability of 50 to 100 litres per household day.
Although Schedule 1 provides for the use of small quantities of water without the need for further administrative authorisation it is restricted to domestic uses such as food gardens and domestic stock watering. As the Act currently stands water use under Schedule 1 supports subsistence activities but does not allow water to be used for commercial purposes.
The requirements for water for small-scale uses in rural areas will be quantified during compulsory licensing (see below), and the Department will investigate ways of making secure and cost effective supplies of water available without placing unnecessary administrative burdens on the users.
The requirements for water need not necessarily be met via piped supplies or using water abstracted from rivers. Rainwater harvesting from roofs or other hardened surfaces, using tanks, small check dams or catchpits can supplement more conventional sources of supply, and more use can be made of groundwater. Soil moisture can be retained on cultivated land and infiltration can be increased by contouring or constructing other micro water retaining structures, which have limited effects on water resources or downstream users.
The Department will work closely with other government agencies, particularly agricultural extension services, and in partnerships with non-governmental organisations and the private sector to explore possible options and ensure that appropriate interventions are implemented.''