Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All
The aim of the WASH component in the project is to support all 1,5 million habitants of the area to have access to safe drinking water and access to a toilet by the end of the project.
Drinking Water Supply
In the hilly and mountainous areas of the Far and Mid-Western Regions of Nepal water scarcity is often a problem. The Western regions of Nepal receive the lowest amount of rainfall in the country leading to water scarcity, especially in the dry season. Often water has to be fetched from far away and this consumes a great deal of women’s time, since women are traditionally the ones given the task.
In most of the hilly areas no wells have to be dug: drinkable water comes from water springs at higher altitude and is transported through pipes to lower settlements by gravity flow systems.
The project places strong emphasis on supporting communities in the delivery of safe and sustainable drinking water services. Neither of these can be taken for granted: both water quality and the functionality of the services can easily be compromised by human and natural causes. Contamination of water by feces is a major issue in the country and the reason why clean drinking water and progress in sanitation issues have to go hand in hand in the rural areas of Nepal.
A Water Safety Plan is a plan to ensure the safety of drinking water through the use of a comprehensive risk assessment and risk management approach that covers all steps in water supply from “source to mouth”.
600 000 People
Provided with Basic Clean Drinking Water
Sanitation and Hygiene
Open defecation has been a major concern in the project area. Fecal contamination of water is common in the area and it causes various water related health problems. Ten years of strenuous work in supporting toilet construction and raising awareness against open defecation is starting to show results. All of the project districts will be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) within 2017
However, according to traditional beliefs menstruating women could contaminate the toilet and therefore in many areas women are still forced to defecate outside during their monthly periods. The Project is working hard to break the myths regarding menstruation taboos in order to guarantee safe drinking water and use of toilet for women.
The Project supports on building institutional toilets at schools and health posts. Sanitation must be accessible to all, that is why the toilets and taps are child, disable and gender friendly; taps have to be low enough, so that a child can reach them: support for squatting has to be provided for the disabled and water, soap, possibilities for pad disposal and privacy must be provided for menstruating women so that they can manage their menstruation with dignity.
Read more about Accessible Sanitation.
Whole Project Area Declared
"Open Defecation Free"
Using Every Drop
In the water poor areas every drop of water counts. The Project promotes Multiple Use of Water Systems (MUS), meaning that on top of drinking water, any excess water should be utilized effectively, mainly for irrigation purposes or providing water for cattle and other small animals but also for electricity generation and water mills.
This is directly linked to livelihoods improvements since making water available in sufficient quantity opens up new, previously non-existing opportunities. The basic home gardens provide a good example: these were not possible in many places earlier due to water scarcity. In addition practically all advanced-level livelihood opportunities depend on the availability of water. Read more about our livelihoods component.
Participatory planning of water schemes at community level
Involving the Community
In order to increase the sustainability of the water schemes and the community ownership of the schemes, the Project involves the community during all stages of planning and execution.
The planning starts with the establishment of a Water Use Master Plan (WUMP) in which the whole community is involved. The community knows best the locations of water sources and utilization of the sources and location of the taps is planned collectively. As women are traditionally the ones fetching the water, their presence at the WUMP planning sessions is crucial.
The community contributes towards the schemes in cash and in kind. The cash contribution depends on the economic status of the household. The community also contributes in digging the ditches for the pipelines and carrying of the construction materials in the hilly terrain. Overall, the input of the community is significant and crucial to the success of the schemes. Maintaining the water system is also carried out on a communal basis; local User Committees monitor the condition of the water system and collect the water tariffs, which are then used for necessary maintenance.
Water beneficiaries contributing "in Kind" by carrying the pipes