Siraudi Kataude Point Source Improvement project is a recently completed water supply scheme in ward number 9 of Sakhar VDC, Syangja. This is a small scheme that covers 18 Janjati, Dalit and Other households which were deprived of safe and reliable water throughout the year before the scheme implementation. Total population of the scheme is 77. The project consists of two sources, namely Siraudi and Kataude. Siraudi spring serves 5 households: 1 hh can collect water from the tank constructed nearby the source and 4 hh are served by a community tap stand. Kataude spring serves 13 households who come to collect water from the improved source. The scheme cost is NPR 284,345.
Due to the knowledge gap of the community people and lack of attention by project technicians, the scheme design was done without assessing the risks of water and gully erosion, landslips or landslides at the source area, nor were these risks discussed with the community. At the time of second monitoring visit the Water User and Sanitation Committee (WUSC) claimed that all the works that had been included in the design and cost estimate had been completed, which was very true as per the agreement.
However, during our second monitoring visit on May 10th 2016 we (the monitoring team) observed several risks to the water supply scheme, which could be minimized with little resources, mostly from local resources and technologies. According to the WUSC´s view the scheme was already completed and they were eager to clear the scheme. We persisted on discussing sustainability issues including climate change effects & adaptation, disaster risk reduction and water safety plan with them, aiming to sensitize the people to improve their system. We did not try to enforce them to do things but rather share the concepts, what risks we had observed at the scheme and good practices to mitigate the risks. At the end of the meeting, the community was more aware on how they could improve the sustainability of their scheme and we got the strong commitment from users. One of the WUSC members, who is also a member of W-WASH-CC, had participated in the VDC level post-construction workshop where he had learnt about local technologies and examples of disaster risk reduction. He was active in leading the discussion and trying to sensitize his community people with local technologies and examples on DRR.
Third monitoring of the scheme was done on June 5, 2016. Seeing the small improvements in the scheme – which were implemented without additional budget - made me happy and motivated to write this blog. Below figures show the changes before and after our second monitoring. Effort from our side to sensitize the people was small, and the works done by the community are based on simple, local technology and resources and therefore not costly. With this small effort, which the community took on their own after realizing how it can benefit them, the scheme is less likely to face a disaster.
Siraudi source/intake before (left) and after (right) our second monitoring visit. The intake is now protected with fencing and protection wall.
Kataude source/intake before (left) and after (right) our second monitoring. Surface water flow is diverted away from the intake by a simple wall structure and bioengineering is applied to stabilize the soil.
Another step towards sustainability is the community´s decision to collect operation and maintenance fund and to start registration process for the two sources. Because this is only a point source improvement scheme and not a piped water supply scheme, the community had no plan to collect operation and maintenance fund and no plan to register the water source. But within the month after the second monitoring visit they had collected NPR 3,000 for their fund and had a strong commitment to raise the O&M fund in future.
From this case, it can be concluded that separate awareness and capacity building event(s) are not always necessary to reduce the disaster risk of communities. Brief discussion with knowledge and experience sharing may yield fruitful results to aware, motivate and capacitate the community people through our regular activities. We can say that all of our regular activities like scheme monitoring, community/WUSC meetings etc. are also capacity building activities and we can use the forums as desired.
The monitoring teams comprised of Mr. Dolraj Dhakal from DDC; Mr. Uday Raj Devakota, VDC Secretary; Mr. Dipendra Khatri, Technical Facilitator from RWSSP-WN and myself. Support Persons in the field were Field coordinator Mr. Bhesh Raj Adhikari and Health Promoter, Mr Ram Prasad Pathak.