Presentation by Parikshit Shrest on Achieving sustainable water services through climate smart MUS – A practice from rural area of far-west Nepal.
Presentation by Floriane Clement on Are MUS more sustainable than single-use systems?
Presentation by Chakra Bahadur Chand on Benefits of MUS on Livelihoods and Sustainability of Drinking Water Schemes.
Poor people in developing countries need water for many purposes: for drinking, bathing, irrigating vegetable gardens, and watering livestock. However, responsibility for water services is divided between different government agencies, the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and irrigation sub-sectors, with the result that people's holistic needs are not met. Multiple use water services (MUS) is a participatory water services approach that takes account of poor people's multiple water needs as a starting point of planning, and the approach has been implemented in at least 22 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Scaling up Multiple Use Water Services argues that by designing cost-effective multi-purpose infrastructure MUS can have a positive impact on people's health and livelihoods. It analyses and explains the success factors of MUS, using a framework of accountability for public service delivery, and it also examines why there has been resistance against scaling up MUS. A stronger service delivery approach can overcome this resistance, by rewarding more livelihood outcomes, by fostering discretionary decision-making power of local-level staff and by allowing horizontal coordination.This book should be read by government and aid agency policy makers in the WASH and agriculture sectors, by development field workers, and by academics, researchers and students of international development.
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 project brought together iDE-N's experience in MUS, irrigation, water management and appropriate sustainable business models with Renewable World’s experience in renewable energy and business models for income generation in extremely isolated communities.
Solar-powered water pumps, as a reliable system of lifting water, are critical to the success of this project. The traditional gravity-fed MUS, as previously implemented by iDE-N in Nepal, are designed to give priority for drinking water, with overflow water from the drinking water tank being used for agriculture and other uses. Householders are trained to use micro-irrigation systems to make efficient use of the MUS water for their agricultural needs. Micro-irrigation is a financial boon to households as it results in higher crop yields, longer growing seasons (as crops can be grown in the dry season), and better market prices (as these crops tend to be more scarce at that time of year). Increased income means that households can cover the costs of ongoing operation, maintenance, and replacement costs of multiple-use systems. Because they better meet the water needs of communities, multiple-use services also decrease conflict related to water access as well as damage to infrastructure caused by “illegal” or unplanned uses.
In this video, we can see Solar Powered Multiple use water services in action. This system provides sufficient water for domestic use and high value crops using micro irrigation technologies. Such solar-powered systems are designed when the spring sources are located below the community and there is no electric grid. iDE Nepal, in a pioneering effort, successfully oversaw the installation of six solar-powered water delivery systems.
This Gravity MUS video is about the MUS programs that were designed and implemented by iDE in different districts in Nepal.
This video is called Solar Multiple Use Water System and has been produced with the support of Renewable World. Renewable World works with local partners (IDE and SAPPROS Nepal) to build their capacities to deliver renewable energy services to remote and marginal communities.
This article, published in Water Alternatives, examines community-driven multiple use water services (MUS) as pioneered by the Rural Village Water Resources Management Project (RVWRMP) in the Far and Mid-Western development regions of Nepal. These regions are characterised by poverty, remoteness, rugged terrain, food insecurity, water scarcity, and post-conflict legacy. Water provision for domestic and productive uses provides opportunities to address poverty and livelihoods in environments with highly decentralised governance.
This study explores the first-hand lessons learned in the RVWRMP in Nepal since 2006. This project is embedded within the local government. Key project entry points are decentralisation, participation and empowerment. This article reflects how the community-managed systems are used for multiple uses whether they were designed for it or not. It focuses on household- and community-level changes and related institution building and participatory planning through Water Use Master Plans and a Step-by-Step approach. Recommendations are made for scaling up multiple use services.
Sanna-Leena Rautanen, Barbara van Koppen, Narayan Wagle, 2014
Community-driven multiple use water services: Lessons learned by the Rural Village Water Resources Management Project in Nepal, Water Alternatives 7(1): 160-177