This paper explores the links between multiple use services and self supply approaches, exploring selected cases in Nicaragua and Zimbabwe. The first case illustrates the influence multiple uses have had on the wide uptake and sustainability of rope pumps in Nicaragua. The main reason cited for these is linked to the economic opportunities that have arisen from the development of irrigation and the availability of water for livestock. The second presents the case of family wells in Zimbabwe, where household owned wells are commonly used to serve multiple purposes. The paper finally explores opportunities and challenges of MUS through self supply, such as water quality issues, reaching the poorest and its scalability.
02. A multi sectoral approach to sustainable rural water supply: the role of the rope handpump in Nicaragua
J.H.Alberts and J.J. van der Zee (2004)
A low cost rope handpump for boreholes and hand-dug wells up to 70 m deep has been developed, marketed, and subsequently mass-produced in Nicaragua by local, small, privately-owned workshops since the early 1990’s. It is easy to maintain and highly efficient at the family- as well as community level.
The pump has met with high social acceptance amongst rural users ever since the early, rudimentary models were first made available. By 1995 the technology became an integral part of rural water programmes implemented by NGOs and government agencies. Rural water supply coverage since then has doubled from approximately 27.5% to 54.8%. Of this 27.3 percentage point rise, rope pumps account for 23.6% (or 85% of the total increase).
The income generating capacity of the rope pump has been an important reason for its acceptance and successful introduction. In addition credit schemes linked to the introduction of the pumps have proven successful, whilst comparative studies of farm income show that families with a rope pump generate an average US$225 of additional annual income which can represent up to 50% of the total income for the lower income groups.
Production of the technology by about a dozen private workshops has made Nicaragua the country with the highest handpump density per rural capita. Though broad international interest has been received, inclusion of the technology in rural water supply programmes on other continents has encountered serious institutional barriers. Widespread introduction elsewhere requires a multi sectoral approach in a context somewhat broader than the policies of the traditional Water and Sanitation sector. In particular, the impact of income generation on sustainability should be understood and capitalised on, whilst alliances with the private sector are required for promotion and production. Collaboration across boundaries between poverty reduction initiatives and the water supply sector are fully justifiable.
However, symbiosis between the private sector user and private sector producer is the essential foundation to make development an economically viable proposition.