Multiple-use Water Systems (MUS)
Rural communities need water for drinking, cooking, washing, sanitation, watering animals, growing food and generating income and power. This is particularly relevant in the water scarce communities that are our target group: rural life needs water! Multiple-use water services are a way of life. The international MUS group notes that “MUS take people’s water needs as the starting point. By looking at all water needs and available water resources holistically, it is possible to make more cost-effective and sustainable investments that generate a broader range of health and livelihood benefits than is possible with single-use systems.”
Multiple-use of water systems links to strengthening the resilience of communities facing increasing climate variability. The activities within all our result areas already deliver knowledge, skills and innovation, which are all part of an inclusive participatory economy and as such, link to MUS. The sustainable utilisation of natural resources can also provide jobs to those who have not had a chance to be educated earlier: the range of capacity building activities provide many opportunities for the literate and illiterate, for women and men, for all castes and ethnic groups alike.
RWSSP-WN II promotes multi-purpose, multi-use of water. Livelihoods development is not in the scope of the project, however we are exploring to what extent we can promote MUS. The involvement of communities, both men and women, in the selection of and planning for such interventions is the key to successful completion of these designs: the solutions need to reflect the field realities and expectations of the communities themselves, building on existing practices, designs and approaches rather than developing anything parallel or additional.
RWSSP-WN II does not seek to pilot but rather, scale up successful pilots implemented by others in Nepal and utilize and support existing local designs.
Water security and scarcity adds a challenge to this equation. It has been noted that some water sources in the RWSSP-WN II operational area are drying up (due to many reasons, including reduced rainfall, increased run-off due to land-use changes, population pressure and increased off-take, etc.). As a consequence, any recommendations need to consider resource constraints and sustainability questions.
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Photo: Ever drop counts. In domestic MUS system home gardens benefit from