Presentation of findings of a DFID study carried out by the University of Leeds, University of North Carolina, University of East Anglia and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
This presentation by Trinh Ngoc Lan highlights how multiple-uses of water can be made visible in large irrigation systems and addressed in the management of these.
Powerpoint presentation by Gerardo E. van Halsema, Centre for Water and climate Wageningen, given at the World Water Forum in Turkey, 2009.
S. Noel: Sources of Water for Household Enterprises in Rural Vietnam
Small-scale productive activities undertaken in and around the household (e.g., kitchen gardens, raising of livestock, small businesses) require adequate quality and quantities of domestic water to operate. The research analyzed 189 purpose-collected household surveys from 6 villages in 3 provinces in rural areas of Vietnam to investigate patterns of use of domestic water and the impact on household-based productive activities. The findings indicate that these enterprises almost exclusively used ecosystem water, primarily well water, rainwater and water from rivers and lakes. This result held even in villages where piped water was available within the household plot. The conclusions emphasize the importance of natural capital in rural livelihood activities and suggest that patterns of development which draw down wealth in terms of natural capital stocks may adversely affect the poor in developing countries in the long run, even while raising GDP per capita in the short to medium term. [authors abstract]
The full paper has been published in the Water Policy journal.
A recent Stockholm Environment Institute research project has looked at the patterns of domestic water use in rural and peri-urban areas in Vietnam, with a particular focus on micro enterprises undertaken in and around the household using domestic water supplies. The study took place in 7 provinces across Vietnam and involved over 100 households. The overall approach was based on conventional rapid participatory appraisal techniques, and included the use of interviews with key informants and households, focus group discussions, field observations and documentary analysis.
The study found that water had a significant role in productive activity in and around the home, both in production for household consumption and for income generation. The majority of households surveyed had a vegetable garden and/or were raising some type of livestock, usually pigs. Some of this food production was clearly for household consumption, thus increasing households’ food security, but some household crops were being cultivated exclusively for sale in the village market. Most families with more than 2 pigs were also selling pork.
Water was also crucial to other home-based income-generating activities (IGAs), particularly for those undertaken by female members of the household. The most common household IGA observed was the production of food products, and these enterprises were generally run primarily – and often entirely – by the women of the extended household. In many cases, the male head of household and older sons worked outside the household area, either farming or as wage labourers; working on their own, the women were able to produce food items for sale while having sufficient time to raise children and take care of the household domestic needs. This pattern held true in both rural and peri-urban areas and means that these activities are of great significance in gender as well as livelihoods terms.
Service-based businesses also offered specific benefits to female household members. A motorbike washing business in a peri-urban area of Thai Binh illustrated the advantages of this type of micro enterprise, both in terms of how it meshed with child-rearing and other household demands and with respect to the low level of investment and skills required. The female owner of the business washed five motorbikes in a typical day, noting it was something she did in her spare time; for start-up, all she had needed was a pump (for drawing water from the river), soap and an air pressure hose (for drying the bikes). The woman estimated her daily profit at VND10,000-15,000 (US$0.62-0.94): a significant sum of money to her, and earned from only an hour or two of work a day.
While many of these IGAs were not seen as sources of prosperity for rural households (in contrast, for example, to farming shrimp and fish, working in the city, or having equipment and machinery to run larger businesses), people did believe the additional income was essential to household security. There were also instances in which IGAs had been used to generate sufficient investment capital for households to move into more lucrative businesses. One family in Thai Binh, for example, had used profits from raising pork and producing rice wine to save enough money to join with two other families in buying a car for a taxi service. This family’s experience thus illustrates how water-dependent small-scale enterprise can serve as a ladder out of poverty.
From: ‘Productive uses of domestic water: a household-level study from Vietnam’ by Stacey Noel, John Soussan and Nguyen Phuong Thao. To be published in 'Sustainable Development of Water Resources, Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation: Proceedings of the 32nd WEDC Conference', November 2006. Contact Stacey Noel at the Stockholm Environment Institute for more information