Rural water supply: metrics for sustainability

Posted on 30/08/2017 by Harold Lockwood and Goufrane Mansuor

Towards a Universal Measure of What Works on Rural Water Supply : Rural Water Metrics Global Framework

One of the most pervasive development issues related to the provision of rural water supply services is the lack of sustainability. Assessing and measuring sustainability is a difficult task; to date no clear consensus has emerged on which indicators to use. Unlike in the urban water supply and sanitation where universally recognized indicators exist, the rural water supply sub-sector still lacks a universal metrics global framework. This is because the rural water sector has a wide variety of service levels (water points and piped systems) as well as type of service providers (communities, governments and private sector). The adoption of such universal framework by adapting country monitoring systems will facilitate improved national and global reporting and analysis.

Aguaconsult was contracted by the World Bank's Water Global Practice, which made rural water supply services a key challenge area, to carry out a landscaping and analysis of existing frameworks and indicators in use by a range of governments, development partners and donor agencies; the study was conducted in association with IRC of the Netherlands.

This publication summarizes the methodology and conclusions of a study aimed at proposing a Rural Water Metrics Framework that was based on the findings of analyzing 40 rural water supply indicator frameworks. The proposed Global Framework contains minimum, basic, and advanced indicators to be tailored according to each country context. The study finalizes presenting a total of 24 indicators as being key to monitoring RWSS and proposes further validation and dissemination with regional and global partners in the short term, as well as engagement with regional platforms working on water issues for their framework adoption in the long-term to support data sharing and analysis. Download the brief here.