Day 2 – Perspectives on rural water supply

Today the weather was fine – no rain and not too hot.  Of more interest though was the huge amount of experience that was shared by speakers and delegates in Plenary and Parallel Sessions. The only complaint we got today was “There’s too much interesting stuff, I don’t know which session to go to”.  We take that as a complement, thanks.

In the Opening Plenary there was a wide range of perspectives on rural water supply at the rural to national level from experiences in India, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya, with an international perspective from the African Development Bank.

A consistent message that emerged is the need for communities to have a sense of ownership over their water supplies, to take responsibility for it, but to have the back up and support from local government, who in turn need sufficient support and guidance from a national level.  Community management on its own is not enough. It needs to be Community Plus.

Although the role of the private sector did not come out in the Plenary it was an important topic in many of the parallel sessions – what is the best way to deliver effective, sustainable water services to rural people? In the session on introducing new technologies there were examples given of the Rope Pump, which took a lot of time and effort to get established as a mainstream solution in Nicaragua and while now successful there, faces a new challenge across Africa. Projects such as Washtech are looking at how to improve technology update, while other resources, such as as Akvopedia and making existing resources more readily available.

During the day, there was a  lot of discussion led by WaterAid on Equity and Inclusion. Louisa Gosling ably got  delegates to experience the frustrations and difficulties faced by the elderly and disabled in using conventional waterpoint configurations. Busy day for WaterAid as they also did parallel and drop-in sessions on water point mapping,  both  their own water point mapping system, the FLOW system used by WSP and Water For People, and the mapping process done by the Ministry of Water and Environment in Uganda.

Other sessions included:

  • Decentralised Service Provision – with presentations from South Africa, Ukraine, Kenya, Mali, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Niger and Malawi
  • Multiple dimensions of costing and financing rural water supply, with presentations from Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana
  • Getting guidance and tools taken up by institutions
  • Village and Small Town Piped Water Supplies  – a special session run by the Water & Sanitation Program (WSP)

After two sets of parallel sessions there was  a chance to explore the exhibition and the poster displays, where authors were on hand to answer questions. Finally, the Ministry hosted a Cocktail Reception.

Some tweets from today on #RWSN6:

haroldlockwood Harold Lockwood

 Ukraine experience on RWS-incomplete decentralistin, need 2 legalise CBOs . Product of Soviet history; with important lessons@haroldlockwood
haroldlockwood Harold Lockwood

 Wateraid Mali using WASHCost methodology; ~ $2.70 per person per year at local level for a really sustainable water service@haroldlockwood

mtwestra Mark Tiele Westra

Very positive results on EMAS technologies ( presented by Michael MacCarthy of Univ. of South Florida. #rwsn6

harerik Erik Harvey

@haroldlockwood agreed more radical shift needed, but don’t forget how few gave external support & lifecycle costs a thought 3yrs ago #rwsn6

thirstforchange Jonathan Wiles

Sitting in the WASH Performance Measurement & Mapping Session at #RWSN6, learning about great work by @IRCWASH,@WaterAid, & @WSPWorldBank

 Erik Harvey

Rural Malawi water point mapping with @WaterAid & @EWBsupport using health surveilance staff = sustainable data collection #rwsn6#yam

haroldlockwood Harold Lockwood

@RWSN forum.Feels like we are still stuck in community management paradigm. Does volunteerism equate with quality of service?@haorldlockwood
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