MUS by design
Presentation by Raj Kumar on Multiple Water Use Systems (MUS): iDE’s Approach to Design, Development, and Impact.
The concept of multiple-use water services and systems (MUS) has received increasing attention in international water and development fora and has emerged as a promising way to enhance the social and gender equity and productivity of water systems designed for single use, e.g. for irrigation or water supply. In Nepal, several MUS models have been piloted and implemented for more than a decade by the International Development Enterprises (iDE) and a few other development organizations. Whereas the short-term benefits of these systems on gender relationships, women’s empowerment, nutrition and health have been documented, the sustainability and resilience of these systems has not yet been analysed. The latter is the focus of the research study presented in this report, which was conducted by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Western Nepal as part of the USAID-funded Market Access and Water Technology for Women (MAWTW) project.
IWMI research team first conducted a rapid appraisal of 16 MUS, most of which were implemented seven to ten years ago under the SIMI program to assess their sustainability. This led to an in-depth comparative case study of two MUS to explore the social processes affecting equity and sustainability of systems with different social-ecological characteristics. The study also examined the performance of collection centres and marketing and planning committees (MPCs) as these are key components of the value-chain approach associated with MUS for vegetable production and sale.
Research findings show that MUS are overall more sustainable than single-use systems in Nepal: 87.5% of the MUS surveyed are still fully functional or need minor repair versus 56.8% of the single-use domestic supply systems surveyed in a recent study led by the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation (DWSS).
A large majority of systems are still delivering water for multiple uses and have active formal institutions. The cost benefit analysis for the systems surveyed indicates a cost-benefit ratio of 11 (excluding non-monetary benefits reported by water users such as enhanced nutrition and improved health, better sanitation and time saved). The internal factors affecting sustainability were identified as the inter-relationships of social capital (in particular, trust and reciprocity), characteristics of water resources (water flow) and characteristics of the infrastructure (geographical extent of the system, technological capacity to distribute water equitably). The economic returns generated by MUS contribute to water users’ efforts to protect the source and their financial capacity to maintain the system, but the study found that they can also threaten the systems’ sustainability if distributed unequally and unfairly. Lack of formal linkages of the MUS/MPC to government agencies and high rates of male out-migration were found to be the main external factors threatening the system’s sustainability.
Recommendations to enhance the sustainability of MUS and of small-scale water systems in general are: (1) to include an assessment of the level of social capital of the community and of existing conflicts over water use in the feasibility study to inform the selection and design processes; (2) to conduct both an engineering survey and a social survey where the latter would assess existing and potential inequities in water use; (3) to conduct an assessment of the potential threats to local water resources, including current and future uses and needs of the neighbouring communities; (4) to provide extended institutional support to systems in which inequities in water distribution cannot be fixed by technological intervention and; (5) to develop linkages between water users, collection centres/MPCs and local/line government agencies for enhanced synergy of resources use and service distribution.
This presentation is the introduction to the side event called “Multiple use water service, a way for better livelihood in rural areas”, which was held at the 22nd ICID Congress which took place from 14-20 September 2014 in Gwangju, Korea. The presentation looks at a few main guidelines to properly design, build, operate and manage multiple-use water systems and services.
This presentation by François Brelle of SCP gives examples of solidarity between usages for sustainability in France. This presentation was given during a side event called “Multiple use water service, a way for better livelihood in rural areas”, at the 22nd ICID Congress which took place from 14-20 September 2014 in Gwangju, Korea.
Presentation on multiple-use water services (MUS) and the MUS group was given at a side event at the 22nd ICID Congress. This Congress took place from 14-20 September 2014 in Gwangju, Korea.
This is the synthesis report of the e-discussion on multiple-use water services which was held from 28 April - 24 May 2014.
The e-discussion aimed to:
- Improve understanding among water practitioners of the MUS approach and explore how it links with issues of interest to RWSN: household investments in self-supply for multiple uses, equity considerations in multiple uses and the relation between multiple uses of water and sustainable services.
- Bring together a network of practitioners from different disciplines to share learning from approaches that have worked or have not.
- Unlock practical experience and capture in a synthesis. The synthesis will outline current knowledge gaps, policy implications, and highlight issues for the four RWSN thematic groups to take forward.
- Identify immediate and longer term actions for the MUS group and RWSN members.