Myths of Rural Water Supply Learning from past failures, building on successes

Myths of Rural Water Supply

© 2002 Erik Baumann • Skat

Project starts: 2010
Project finished:
Collaborators & Partners: UNICEF, Skat, WaterAid, Water & Sanitation Program, African Development Bank, Swiss Development Cooperation


Ensuring that rural dwellers around the world do not have to walk for hours to collect sufficient and safe drinking water is a huge challenge. In 2010, RWSN published "Myths of the Rural Water Supply Sector" which raises issues for those of us who are involved in trying to improve rural water supplies, whether as donor, Government or NGO; program manager or practitioner. It takes a hard look at our limited achievements, points to areas where our approaches need to be radically improved and sets some challenges.

Project Description

Myth 1: The best way to utilize public funds is to heavily subsidise hardware

Myth 2: Building water supply systems is more important than keeping them working

Myth 3: Communities are always capable of managing their facilities on their own

Myth 4: What rural dwellers need is 20 litres per person per day of clean water

Myth 5: We know what we want and what we can get from the private sector

Myth 6: Any action which tries to improve rural water supplies is laudable

Myth 7: There is a quick fix for rural water supplies

More Information

» Myths of the Rural Water Supply Sector RWSN - Perspective No 4

This paper was prepared by the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) Executive Steering Committee. It drew heavily on background papers prepared by Kerstin Danert and Peter Harvey and comments from Richard Carter, as well as the knowledge and experiences from all of the Executive Steering Committee members. The process involved a workshop in September 2008 which agreed the main issues that would be covered by the paper. Barbara Evans produced the first draft of the paper and helped facilitate and document the workshop process. This was followed by an extensive review process in order to reach consensus.

» Mythes du secteur de l’alimentation en eau en milieu rural RWSN - Perspective No 4

Veiller à ce que les populations habitant en milieu rural à travers le monde n’aient pas à marcher pendant des heures pour collecter une eau potable en quantité suffisante constitue un défi majeur. Ce bref article soulève les problèmes qui se posent à ceux d’entre nous qui s’emploient à améliorer l’alimentation en eau en milieu rural, qu’il s’agisse de bailleurs de fonds, de gouvernements ou d’ONG, de gestionnaires de programmes ou de praticiens. Il examine de près nos résultats limités, identifie les domaines où nos approches méritent d’être améliorées fondamentalement et propose des solutions à certains défis.

» Mitos no Sector de Abastecimento de Água Rural - Perspectiva No 4

Um dos maiores desafios deste sector é de assegurar que os habitantes das zonas rurais, a nível mundial, não têm de caminhar várias horas para ir à procura d água potável, em quantidade suficiente. Este documento coloca questões, às partes envolvidas, na tentativa de melhorar o fornecimento de água rural, quer seja doador, governo, ONG, gestor de programa ou especialista. Este documento examina criticamente as nossas modestas realizações, alista as áreas onde as nossas abordagens necessitam de ser substancialmente melhoradas e identifica alguns desafios.

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