INTEGRATING WATER MANAGEMENT FROM EAST TO WEST

USAID is partnering with Coca-Cola in Tanzania to bring first-time water access to 48,000 people, the majority of whom are women
USAID is partnering with Coca-Cola in Tanzania to bring first-time water access to 48,000 people, the majority of whom are women.
Julien Harneis

This March, residents of the Kayonza District gathered with national and USAID officials to celebrate Rwanda’s National Water Week by breaking ground for the Migera Water System. The project will supply water for small-scale irrigation of crops in about 30 communities and will provide safe, sustainable drinking water to 30,000 people. It is designed to take into account the health, social, and economic needs of the community and is part of the innovative work done by USAID’s Global Water for Sustainability (GLOWS) Program at Florida International University.

After attending the ceremony, Alphosine Kampire, mother of four, said the system will change her family’s lives. “We have only one public water tap used by more than 200 households. We have always had no alternative but to fetch and use dirty water from streams,” she said. “But all this will become history once the new water supply system is completed.”

The new system is funded by USAID’s Rwanda Integrated Water Security Program, which is implemented by the GLOWS consortium under the lead of Florida International University, with the participation of CARE, WaterAid America, Winrock International, World Wildlife Fund, and World Vision. GLOWS has been working since 2006 on various locally tailored integrated water resources management (IWRM) programs in Georgia and across Africa. While the program’s lead award will end in September 2014, several of the projects under GLOWS will continue through 2015.

The program is currently developing a tool for measuring the sustainability of water resources management programs that include sector services and governance, which will be finalized and field tested by September. By integrating management of water, land, and other natural resources in an equitable, socially responsible, and environmentally sustainable way, IWRM is already transforming lives around the world.

Engaging Communities

In Georgia, GLOWS’ Integrated Natural Resources Management in Watersheds (INRMW) program found success by involving communities. INRMW launched a small grants program, which invited 60 communities to compete for 40 small grants for water projects. The grants required cost-share contributions from the communities, either in-kind or monetary. GLOWS Deputy Director Ryan Stoa said this has led to an increase in engagement at all levels. “This is something you don’t always see in development,” he said.

Through the grant program, residents in the Tusheti region of the Caucasus Mountains were able to create a water line to help a community that has suffered from water access problems since the fall of the Soviet Union. Community members dug and laid the pipe, which now provides the area with clean drinking water.

Other grants are funding the construction or rehabilitation of rural water supply systems that now provide 10,741 people with improved quality drinking water. Local community-based organizations are responsible for maintaining this key infrastructure for the long term.

Partnering for Sustainability

GLOWS has also found that forging innovative partnerships makes IWRM more sustainable. In Tanzania, the GLOWS Tanzania Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (iWASH) Program is partnering with the Water and Development Alliance, a public-private partnership between USAID and the Coca-Cola Foundation, to bring first-time access to clean, safe drinking water to some of the country’s poorest communities. To date, the iWASH Program has helped provide water to more than 130,000 people, 55 percent of whom are women. The program has also taught more than 170,000 people about hygiene and sanitation, and provided nearly 30,000 with access to improved sanitation facilities, mostly through the construction and rehabilitation of school latrines. In addition, it is training water users to improve their management of water resources and to use water more efficiently, thereby enabling them to improve their livelihoods.

Helping public and private stakeholders to work together has been key to the success of GLOWS programs, but it can present challenges. Mr. Stoa said IWRM requires countries to look at water resources as cross-sectoral, but ministries and government agencies in some countries are highly segmented and not equipped to approach water issues in this way. This can lead to disputes between energy, agriculture, environment, and health agencies. GLOWS is addressing this by working with governments to create a framework for cooperation that engages all stakeholders. While challenging, these efforts will ultimately lead to increased social and environmental sustainability.

In Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Niger, the GLOWS West Africa Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Program (WA-WASH) is developing improved models for sustainable rural and peri-urban WASH services that can be replicated throughout the region. Since its start in 2011, the program has helped more than 39,000 people gain access to improved drinking water and more than 3,000 gain access to improved sanitation. WA-WASH has also trained more than 2,100 people on improving water management and agricultural productivity. With their new knowledge, these pioneers will be able to train their families and neighbors to adapt to climate change and improve food security, livelihoods, and health through IWRM in the long term.

S. Hoye

More Information

GLOWS Website

GLOWS Blog

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Last updated: July 29, 2014

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