RWSSP-WN II has succeeded in its mission to "serve the unserved, reaching the unreached". In practice this means that we work in a number of mountain and hill top locations with acute water scarcity. The demand for the various types of lift water supply schemes is raising in RWSSP-WN:
RWSSP-WN Phase I (2007-08/2013) had total 19 solar lift and 33 electric lift schemes, serving total population of 51,449. At this time 11% of the total number of individual water supply schemes were lift schemes, serving 26% of the total water supply beneficiaries (RWSSP-WN Phase I Completion Report, 2013).
RWSSP-WN Phase II (09/2013 – on-going) has, as of now, total 227 individual water supply schemes of which 33% are various types of lift schemes, serving 37% of the total water supply beneficiaries (RWSSP-WN Phase II MIS, 2017). This makes every drop of wastewater even more precious.
The water scarcity is evident also in other places than hill tops and mountains. In 2004 RWSSP III (“Finnida project”) measured 3,320 water sources in Tanahun district, Western Nepal. In 2014 RWSSP-WN II repeated the source measurements again. Total 4,223 sources were measured, including one additional VDC and Byas municipality, and then compared to the year 2004 measurements taking into account the hydro-meteorological data from that period. The study shows dramatic decrease in the source yields over the ten years across one district, see Analysis & Mapping of Climate and Source Yield in Tanahun District and the RWSSP-WN Brief 5-2016.
Water scarcity is compromising the full functionality of the existing water supply schemes, too. As of today, based on our on-going functionality survey, only 55% out of 179 water supply schemes completed over the past 6 years, have water availability in their taps for 5 or more hours per day. While 72% of the schemes have water available over the entire 12 months period, 16% reported having less than 10 months. Two new schemes have already been closed down due to source depletion, many others struggling with the very low quantities, or very poor quality of the available water with no choice for another water source.
The World Water Development Report 2017: ‘Wastewater, The Untapped Resource’, that was launched today, pays also attention to the water availability and scarcity. It notes that “Recent research has demonstrated that two-thirds of the world’s population currently live in areas that experience water scarcity for at least one month a year” (p.10). The WWD 2017 report promotes wastewater as a resource: “wastewater management is already an important part of several different resource cycles and is well-positioned to play a central role in the circular economy” and notes that using appropriately treated water for agriculture enhances opportunities for food security, and can help alleviate the stresses brought about by increasing demand for water (p.21). RWSSP-WN II promotes the use of drainage water from each tap stand and washing platform for the kitchen gardens. This practice is not to be taken for granted: in homesteads where the private water connection is something new, having additional (albeit used) water available is also something new.
We should put more effort on this, the safe and sensible use of the drainage water, appreciating water and its multiple-uses #musgroup.net. We should not waste water!
Photo 1. There must be enough water also for sanitation and hygiene – handwashing counts! Could handwashing place be located next to the garden?