Nepal WASH Blog Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Development in Nepal

January 21, 2011

Watch video for an update on Biratnagar Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project

Filed under: Equity and inclusion,Hygiene,Water — Anita Pradhan @ 4:10 pm

Biratnagar, Nepal’s second largest city is located in the urban ‘Terai’, near the south-eastern border with India. 15% of Biratnagar’s population lives below the poverty line in slum and squatter settlements, with insufficient access to clean drinking water or adequate sanitation.

Since 2008, Biratnagar Integrated Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Project (BIWASH), has provided 12,198 people access to safe and adequate drinking water. It has also provided 7,097 people access to hygienic latrines and 1,801 people access to environmental sanitation facilities such as storm water drainage, bio gas plants and solid waste management.

The following short film is an update on the project’s progress to date.

This visual documentation is produced by WaterAid in Nepal.

January 17, 2011

Easy rights, and difficult access?

Filed under: Ashu's WASH Mondays,WaSH rights,Water — Ashutosh Tiwari @ 10:28 am

It’s hard for friends out of Nepal to imagine that Nepal has problems with drinking water. “You have the Himalayas,” they say, “the world’s cleanest water sources.” True. But as the joke goes, “God gave us water sources, and forgot to give us the pipes!”

Though the Nepal government statistics suggests that there is 80 per cent water supply coverage, we know that safe piped water remains a scarce commodity in urban areas, where consumers water from trucks that sell water. And many taps are not functional in village areas, leaving the local inhabitants no choice but to trek to water sources themselves to fetch water for household consumption.

Against that backdrop, water problems in Nepal need to seen through two lenses: those of rights and access.

Looking at the problems from the ‘rights’ lens means that the right to water is seen, first and foremost, as a basic human right. Looking at them from the ‘access’ lens means that government, bodies, private companies and community efforts need to be mobilized in various combinations to use appropriate technology, distribution channels, and financial resources in ways that make the supply system sustainable for a long time.

In Nepal, arguing that even poor people must have access to safe drinking water because it’s their right to have so is often clear enough. Politicians, village chairmen, local government officers and local communities – they all agree fairly quickly with this rights-based argument.

But they can start to differ when discussions move to how to mobilize and make use of the resources in ways that result in viable and sustainable water supply systems for a community.

Bringing their varying opinions together and unifying such voices to design and implement a water supply system is in area in which much, much work needs to be done. Some of that work requires community mobilizing work. Some require managing donor or government relations. Others require engineering and technical work. Yet others require regular monitoring.

A well-designed water supply project starts with a rights-based discussion, and then moves quickly to “the how” of the rights, as in how the rights can be realized. Such a project usually has all these broad components of “access” – community, government, private sector, engineering work, distribution channels, financial viability, and sustainability: all well thought out and practiced in the field.

Written by Ashutosh Tiwari, Country Representative, WaterAid in Nepal.

January 11, 2011

Photo of the week – 11 to 17 January 2011

Filed under: Gender,Photo of the week,Rural,Water — Anita Pradhan @ 9:00 am

Ram Rati Malik from Beli, Siraha district in Nepal showing the water source she used to collect for drinking purpose. Photo: WaterAid/ Marco Betti

January 10, 2011

Good redundancy

Filed under: Ashu's WASH Mondays,Functionality,Technology,Water,Water resource management — Ashutosh Tiwari @ 11:59 am

Aid projects are often criticized for waste, for creating redundancies and for displacing local efforts.

On a larger scale, this leads to questions such as: if an aid agency helps build a school in a locality, does that displace or minimize the local government’s own efforts to build schools? Likewise, if an agency supplies water to a village through its NGO partner, will that provision then act as a disincentive to the district water supply office or to villagers themselves to do anything on their own when the supply fails?

On a smaller scale, especially in water supply work, when we talk about the functionality of water schemes (meaning: that they work all right), there are often times when it pays off to think ahead to have a few redundancies built into the system.

For instance, say a previously well-functioning public tap starts mal-functioning for a variety of reasons. The revolving head of the tap goes missing or gets broken due to overuse. A screw at the head of the tap slips off: either water stops coming or continues to pour without stopping.

Perhaps the pipes leak: someone slices off a part of the pipe when collecting fodder for cattle, and so on. All these and more pose a problem for the long-term sustainability of water supply schemes in Nepal’s villages.

In such cases, having redundancies built into the system helps. If NGO partners take a few days to train two or more willing villagers on matters such as how to spot potential water supply problems before they occur, show them where they can keep a few spare parts handy and how to make use tools that help replace the parts when necessary, teach them how to procure appropriate pipes and other materials at reasonable rates, then creating this sort of redundancy in the system actually helps with the long life of the water supply systems. In case of water supply failure, the villagers have their own more than one resource to tap into (pun intended!) to get the water flowing.

So next time, when you hear someone criticizing aid agencies for creating redundancies, ask: Are they talking about redundancies that displace local efforts or redundancies that sustain local efforts? In WASH work, we find that it’s often the latter we need more of.

Written by Ashutosh Tiwari, Country Representative, WaterAid in Nepal.

December 28, 2010

Photo of the week – 28 December 2010 to 3 January 2011

Filed under: Photo of the week,Water,Women — Anita Pradhan @ 7:31 pm

Scenes in Nigalopani village in Dhading District of Nepal: women carrying water up the hill. Photo: Financial Times/Charlie Bibby

December 23, 2010

Link of the week – 23 to 29 December 2010

Filed under: Equity and inclusion,Link of the week,Water — Anita Pradhan @ 6:05 pm

HOW TO: Help Solve the Global Water Crisis with Social Media

Lack of clean water is an issue that’s easy to overlook because we take it as such a given. Thirsty? There’s a bottle. Dirty? There’s a faucet to clean yourself. From the perspective of the industrialized world, it’s hard to wrap your head around how crucial water, particularly clean water, is for our daily lives.

Click here for our link of the week - 23 to 30 December 2010

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This blog was created by WaterAid under the creative commons licence