Self-supply relies on the interaction between clients who are able to finance their investments and a viable private sector. Both sides might need support to Accelerate Self-supply. The client or household may require financial support e.g through saving schemes so that they can invest whereas the private sector may benefit from support to improve their business skills or seed money to kick-start their business.

Accelerating Self-supply is likely to become a necessary option for water supply provision in remote rural, rural and peri-urban areas as agencies face the reality of trying to bring about universal access and an adequate level of service with limited public finance. The approach is being adopted at local and in some cases national scale, e.g. in Ethiopia. However, there is need for more documented evidence of the results and wider impact through accelerating Self-supply.

The role of government in accelerating Self-supply is quite different from that of investing in water supply infrastructure or subsidising it. This new role is to bring about regulation, water safety planning information, monitoring of water quality, access to technical advice and credit to water users and local businesses as well as public awareness-raising. Government also has a role to play to make sure that no-one is left behind in terms of water supplies. Experience in all of these is limited.

Self-supply is considered as an intermediate step, or a complimentary service for public-funded water supplies. However, this overlooks cases where Self-supply is the most viable and sustainable option for water supplies, particularly in rural areas. In many areas there is and will be no alternative water supply so Self-supply sources will be the water supplies. Therefore accelerating Self-supply is improving these supply services.

Self-supply initiatives have primarily been undertaken by agencies with a focus on domestic water supplies. However, the water from these sources is used for many other purposes, such as gardening, small scale irrigation, livestock watering and brickmaking. Given the economic dimension to local enterprises, it is important to establish links to other efforts, such as community-led total sanitation, sanitation marketing, food production, youth employment, rural development and the concept of Multiple Use of Water Services (MUS).

Topic: Self-supply Services

Expected outcomes (2015-2017):

At least three countries have an approved road map or action plan for supporting, monitoring and/or regulating Self-supply.

Activities & Publications (2015-2017):

1. Collating synthesising and sharing evidence and lesson learned from projects and programmes to accelerate Self-supply.

2. Evaluation of Accelerating Self-supply approach from in at least three countries.

3. Dialogue with national governments and key rural water supply financing agencies about their attitudes and experiences of Self-supply.

4. RWSN Publication(s): Self-supply experiences from South Asia and Latin America

5. RWSN Publication – Role and Responsibilities for Self-supply